Part 8: Our Prophetic Warnings to the Nation have brought attacks rather than a grasping of what God is saying
We are grateful to Edmund Heddle who on 6 November 2015 published an article on the subject the persecution of prophets throughout history. We are used to it being proven right time after time again, the current breakdown of society with its lawlessness being proof of the prophecies our team have received now over decades.
The prophecies featured on this link relate to constitutional matters including the protection of constitutional acts as regards to BREXIT, as regards local government, conspiracy fact, prophetic warnings, legalities, antichrists, infiltrations, Celts, festivals, denominations, the “Every Creature Commission”, heavenly places, mental assent and dated prophecies from 2016 onwards.
Declared Heddle: Bringing God's prophetic word to the people to whom it is sent has always been a costly business. The conclusion reached by the New Testament writers as they looked back over Old Testament history is that prophets have always been persecuted. Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount refers to this fact when he ends his final beatitude with the words,
Matthew 5:12 Authorized (King James) Version
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
Stephen brought his speech to the Jewish Sanhedrin to a smarting conclusion with the challenge,
Acts 7:52 Authorized (King James) Version
52 Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:
Looking into the future, Jesus indicates that there is not likely to be any change in the way prophets are treated: No-one can answer the question 'What is a prophet?' adequately until he comes to terms with the inevitable persecution that being a faithful prophet involves.
Luke 11:49 Authorized (King James) Version
49 Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute:
Heddle then goes onto ask how were prophets persecuted collating the many different ways into two particular perspectives that are opposite to being accepted and loved for the mark of a prophetic ministry is in its rejection and the threat of physical violence towards them. Our ministry has this hallmark running right through it hence the approach of this presentation.
Matthew 21:42 Authorized (King James) Version
42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
The mark of this ministry therefore has never been acceptance in our own country but to be in much demand overseas.
Matthew 13:57 Authorized (King James) Version
57 And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.
Jesus was speaking to the religious community all around him, and so it is with us, our work being primarily with overseas students and ministries, local “church” ministries often opposing us with the thoughts of the natural mind so common in Britain, human thought being rejected of God for the prophet will speak out the thoughts of God rather than the rationale of man.
1 Corinthians 2:14 Authorized (King James) Version
14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Referring to prophets Heddle gives clear Biblical reference as to the lives all prophets live:
They were persecuted through ridicule (2 Kings 2:23, Luke 22:64, Jer 20:7); by being told to be quiet (Amos 2:12, 7:13); by unpleasant looks (Jer 1:8,17, 5:3); through accusations and having their message reported back to the authorities (Jer 18:19, 37:13, Amos 7:10, Jer 20:10); by being debarred from attending God's house (Jer 36:5); and by having their prophetic words, both spoken and written, rejected (Isa 30:10, Micah 2:6, Amos 7:12,16, Jer 36:23).
Physical violence to their persons took various forms: they were placed in the stocks (Jer 20:2); they were kept in chains (Jer 40:1); they were slapped in the face (1 Kings 22:24); they were imprisoned in cells, dungeons and cisterns (Jer 37:15-16 & 38:6) in some cases just on bread and water (1 Kings 22:27); they were threatened with death (1 Kings 19:1) while others were actually put to death (2 Chron 24:21, Jer 26:20-23).
Others were killed whose names are not recorded. Jesus gives us reason to believe there were many who made the ultimate sacrifice (Luke 11:50-51).
In the recent reporting to human authorities at Whithorn the informer came to us saying we should be quiet in the context of a hymn being sung out into the street, a hymn being sung beautifully through Pamela Masih who was declaring that it was well with her soul. The local kirk put notices up warning people to keep away from us and on previous occasion most of the above Biblical references have applied to us.
The Bible does not give us extensive biographical details of the prophets we meet in its pages. In fact, we have little information about how they were persecuted or about how they lived and died. For example, with the exception of Amos and Jonah, Scripture says hardly anything about the personal circumstances of the minor prophets. The same is true of Isaiah and Ezekiel, though we have a little more to go on for the latter.
It is the prophet Jeremiah that we know most about and it is from his experience that we can perhaps best discover how prophets were persecuted in his day. He goes so far as to refer to himself as 'a gentle lamb led to the slaughter' (Jer 11:19), using the same words that Isaiah used to describe God’s 'suffering servant' (Isaiah 53:7).
There are a number of examples of non-writing prophets who were cruelly persecuted.
Elijah was threatened by the wicked queen Jezebel after his confrontation with the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, and ran for his life (1 Kings 19:1-4).
Amos was insulted by the chief priest at the sanctuary in Bethel and told never to prophesy there again (Amos 7:10-15).
Micah had the courage to contradict the prophetic announcement of four hundred false prophets (1 Kings 22: 5-6) when they declared that Ramoth Gilead would be defeated by the combined forces of Kings Ahab and Jehoshaphat. He discerned that it was a lying spirit that was deluding these prophets – for this he was slapped in the face by Zedekiah and put in prison under the order of King Ahab (1 Kings 22:23-27).
Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada the priest, was stoned to death for rebuking the people who turned aside to Asherah poles and idols, and for forsaking the Temple. This was an especially heinous crime, as Zechariah's father had helped King Joash and had been honoured at his death for "the good he had done in Israel for God and his Temple" (2 Chron 24:16-22). As this persecuted prophet lay dying, he felt that King Joash had been particularly unkind and exclaimed "May the Lord see this and call you to account" (2 Chron 24:22).
Hanani the seer reproved King Asa for relying on the king of Aram, instead of on the Lord, saying that from that time onward he would be at war. The king was so enraged that he put Hanani in prison (2 Chron 16:7-9).
Uriah from Kiriath Jearim is described as "another man who prophesied in the name of the Lord, he prophesied the same things...as Jeremiah did" (Jer 26:20-23). When King Jehoiakim heard what he said, he sought ways of putting Uriah to death. In fear for his life, the prophet escaped to Egypt. Thereupon the king dispatched a party of men to find and arrest him. When they brought him back to the king, he had Uriah struck down with a sword and his body thrown into the common burial place.
Our nation’s history in Scotland shows of the killing times when government troops supported by the Episcopal order sought out and killed those who were thrown out of the establishment church to form the Covenanter group who brought about what is in reality our nation’s written constitution, The Solemn League and Covenant, a copy of which written in human blood inspired Rees Howells to form our ministry in South West Scotland in the 1920’s, my dad joining him in the 1930’s and Brian Mason joining his son Samuel in the 1970’s.
So with this history how then can government authorities listen to informers of another order, another ideology when the reality is that it is us keeping the law, the law of God rather than the unjust laws of man, coming from the natural mind which is abhorrent to God?
Isaiah 55:8 Authorized (King James) Version
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
Heddle then gives New Testament reference of persecution of prophets.
John the Baptist was referred to by Jesus as "a prophet and more than a prophet" (Matt 11:9). He was persecuted, especially by King Herod. John the Baptist had the courage publicly to rebuke Herod for marrying Herodias, his brother's wife. For this, Herod had John put in prison (Luke 3:19-20), where he lay bound (Matt 14:3).
On Herod's birthday the celebrations included a sensual dance performed by Herodias' daughter. Herod was foolish enough to promise her anything she asked for. Prompted by her mother, she asked for the head of John the Baptist. The king was distressed but felt he had to keep his promise, and he had John beheaded.
Jesus Christ was greeted with the words of the crowd, "A great prophet has appeared among us" (Luke 7:16). The two disciples walking to Emmaus, bewildered by what had been happening, summed up their conclusions in the words, "He was a prophet powerful in word and deed before God and all the people" (Luke 24:19), and like all true prophets Jesus was persecuted. He was ridiculed, opposed in his teaching, had his miracles attributed to the devil, was handed over to the authorities and suffered at the hands of violent men. Finally, he was crucified and demonstrated (as men thought) to be a false messiah.
Over many years the religious establishment has looked to do the same to us, Heddle going on to summarise the problems we face;
These problem areas may be divided up into (1) difficulties with other people, (2) difficulties in handling of God's word, and (3) difficulties in their own thoughts.
(1) Difficulties with other people. Prophets have to face being despised by priests and other 'professionals', as Amos was by Amaziah (Amos 7:12-13) and Jeremiah by Pashur (Jer 20: 1-2); being opposed by false prophets (Jer 29:1-17); being rejected by familiar friends (Jer 20:10) and by one's own family (Matt 13:57).
(2) Difficulties in handling God's prophetic word. Prophets must: speak only what God has really given (Jer 1:7); not water down God's word to make it more acceptable (Isa 30:10); uphold the authority of the scriptures (Jer 17:19-27); and be prepared to bring the same message over and over again (Jer 7:25, 29:19, 35:15).
(3) Difficulties in their own thoughts. Prophets must (a) be patient and wait confidently for the fulfilment of God's prophetic word (James 5:10-11; Matt 13:17); (b) allow critics to call them 'traitors' to their country or a particular viewpoint, trusting God to vindicate them (Jer 37:11-14) and (c) accept the fact that they will be called 'troublemakers' (1 Kings 18:17) and must continue proclaiming God's word even though it is a torment to the hearers (Rev 11:10).
We must follow Paul's teaching to "bless those who persecute us" (Rom 12:14). We can know that Christ is with us, for persecution is one of those things which cannot separate us from the love of God (Rom 8:35-39). We can be comforted by the assurance that persecution can only scatter the church, it cannot destroy it, as was the case in the early church (Acts 8:1).
Finally, we can be sure that all faithful prophets will have their reward in heaven, and will sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Luke 13:28). They will then know that Jesus was right when he said that the prophets who were persecuted were the truly 'blessed' people (Matt 5:11-12).
Over many years Lindsay and I have faced all of this but God has never let us down. He has delivered us from every conflict and exposed the instigators of our troubles, God dealing with every conflict.
Hebrews 13:5 Authorized (King James) Version
5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Romans 8:31-37 Authorized (King James) Version
31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. 34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
Heddle is emphatic therefore in his teaching that there is always help for persecuted prophets, and we trust that we have reacted to the persecution Biblically with love and compassion whilst understanding the dangers for those who touch the anointing of God.
Matthew 5:44 Authorized (King James) Version
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
1 Corinthians 3:16-17 Authorized (King James) Version
16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
At times God's true prophets have lived in danger of their lives and God has raised up men and women to protect them.
Obadiah who was in charge of King Ahab's palace was able to hide a hundred prophets in two caves and supply them with food and water every day (1 Kings 18:13).
A wealthy woman in Shunem was able to build a 'prophet-flat' onto her house for Elisha's use whenever he was in that district (the original prophet's chamber!) (2 Kings 4:8-10).
Ebedmelech. a coloured man, took a gang of men with him to pull Jeremiah out of the cistern in which he had been incarcerated (Jer 38:7-13) and Ahikam son of Shaphan intervened to prevent Jeremiah being put to death.
Jesus said that everyone who assisted a prophet in need would receive the same reward as the prophet: even a cup of cold water would be rewarded (Matt 10:41-42).
We trust this presentation brings understanding to informers and government authorities who perhaps have not understood the significance of our ministry, of its history of persecution and injustice and that this presentation be read in the same spirit in which it was written in compassion and love, with the law and justice in mercy so demanded in our Constitution.
Edmund Heddle’s article was first published in Prophecy Today, Vol 4 No 5, September/October 1988.