Ezekiel stood alone against all the false prophets of Israel.
These prophets would have nothing to do with the message of
righteousness and impending judgment. Instead, they prophesied an
era of peace, ease and prosperity.
Ezekiel 13 is the very word of Jehovah against preachers and
prophets who accommodate people with flesh pleasing words they
said were from the Lord. Their words were designed to make God's
people comfortable in the face of impending judgment.
In fact, they were not satisfied to prophesy good times ahead
from their great houses and ivory beds of ease -- they sought to
provide a pillow for every elbow (Ezekiel 13:18). "Woe to
those who apply pillows unto all elbows..." (Original Hebrew
by Spurrell) "...Behold, I am against your pillows wherewith
ye entice souls..." (Ezekiel 13:20).
Ezekiel was horrified at the sight of prophets who had
developed an art of making God's people comfortable. The Lord had
said, "My people have set up idols in their hearts; they are
brazenly setting up stumbling blocks in iniquity; they are all
estranged from me because of their idols" (Ezekiel 14:1-5).
The true word of the Lord was, "Jehovah says -- eat your
bread with trembling, and drink thy water with grieving and
fainting -- and say unto the people, her land shall be emptied of
its fullness, because of the violence -- cities will be laid
waste, the land made desolate -- there shall be no more vain
visions or flattering prophecies" (Ezekiel 12:17-24).
While Ezekiel went about calling the people to humility and
repentance, trying to prepare God's people for the soon coming
judgments, these pillow prophets went about prophesying the dreams
and imaginations of their own hearts. God had not spoken to them,
even though they prefaced their predictions with, "Hear the
Word of the Lord." God said, "I did not send them: they
do not speak for Me.
They carried with them fancy pillows to place under every elbow
for all who flocked to hear their false prophecies. They placed
handkerchiefs on the heads of every one of their disciples, a
statement to others that meant, "Nothing but good times
ahead. I see nothing ahead but peace and luxury." They walked
among the poor and sick, with a lace kerchief on the head, as a
sign of their confidence in the message of the prophets of self
indulgence and comfort.
Ezekiel thundered the Word of God at them, as the masses
congregated to hear their pleasant words.
"You see for God's people a vision of prosperity, when
there is no prosperity, saith the Lord Jehovah" (Ezekiel
"You follow after your own imagination - when actually you
have seen nothing." (Ezekiel 13:3).
The pillow prophets are still with us! They talk about the Word
of God, about prophecy, and they salt their soothing messages with
a lot of Scripture. But there is a falseness in what they preach.
They are not preaching the Cross or holiness and separation. They
make no demands on their followers. They seldom speak of sin and
judgment. They abhor the very mention of suffering and pain. To
them, the heroes of Hebrews were faithless cowards and penniless
losers who were afraid to claim their rights.
Like the pillow prophets of Israel, their one supreme desire is
to promote luxurious lifestyles and make people comfortable in
their pursuit of the good life. They are not speaking for God. All
they are doing is passing out pillows. One for every elbow of
every follower. No wonder the crowds flock to sit under their
message -- it's painless. There is not the call of Christ to deny
self and take up a cross.
What is the difference between pillow prophets and Jehovah's
true prophets? The preacher or parishioner who doesn't know the
difference is on dangerous ground. With so many going about
gathering huge followings, it is imperative to have Holy Ghost
discernment. The confused prophets must be exposed by truth. Most
of them and sound like sincere, Bible loving men of God. But the
Lord has given His people infallible tests to prove what is true
and what is false. We are to test every man and every message --
by the whole Word of God.
Let me bring to your attention three characteristics of a true
prophet of God.
1. A true man of God is
a vision of the Lord Jesus Christ.
He has been so overwhelmed, so mastered by that glorious
vision, he can speak of nothing else. He preaches the whole
counsel of God -- as it relates to Christ.
God said of the false prophets, "Woe unto the deceiving
prophets who follow after their own imaginations... they have seen
nothing" (Ezekiel 13:3).
Yet of Moses, it was said "By faith he forsook Egypt, not
fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him Who
is invisible" (Hebrew 11:27).
Jesus said of Abraham, "Abraham rejoiced to see my day:
and he saw it, and was glad" (John 8:5-6).
Stephen had a glorious vision of Him. "And he said,
Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing on
the right hand of God" (Acts 7:5-6).
Ananias said to Paul, "The God of our fathers hath chosen
thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One,
and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth" (Acts 22:14).
To His own disciples, Jesus said, "In a little while the
world will see me no more, but you will see Me" (John 14:17).
The one thing every one of these men of God had in common was
their life-controlling vision of Christ the Lord. Christ was the
great and only cause in their life. They saw Him through the eye
Moses willingly forsook the ease and prosperity of Egypt to
suffer privation in a wilderness because he had been mastered by a
vision of Christ. Nothing else mattered now, not even his dream of
becoming a great deliverer He saw beyond all human ambition. He
was weaned from all that was earthly because he had seen Christ.
He could endure anything, for nothing on earth could compare with
what his spiritual eyes beheld.
Abraham became totally detached from this world and willingly
became a foreigner on earth, for his eyes were fixed on a city
whose builder and maker was God. But best of all, he had seen a
vision of Christ on His throne in that holy city. Never again
would he settle for things temporal or earthly. His faith was
built upon his continual vision of Christ. He rejoiced and was
glad, for he had eyes for the invisible, the eternal, Christ!
The moment Paul saw Him everything else on earth became dung to
him. The very moment Christ was revealed in him, he determined to
know nothing else among men but his Lord. He gladly endured
hardships, shipwreck, stoning, beatings, privations, imprisonment;
none of these things moved him because he gloried in his vision of
Any man of God who is tied to this earth or the things of earth
has seen nothing. If he had a vision of Christ, if he was in
constant union with Christ, he could preach of nothing else. He
would stand before the crowds, proclaiming, "I count it all
loss -- it's all dung! It is Christ and Him alone. He is all; He
fills all things. He is my very life."
Like Isaiah, the true man of God who sees the Lord, high and
lifted up, will fall on his face and weep over his sins and the
sins of God's people. Then he will be purged and go forth in the
power of his awesome vision to preach Christ.
God warned Israel, "The prophets are like foxes..."
In other words, some have no single eye focused on Christ alone,
but they have eyes filled with covetousness. They spoil the vine,
taking the best for themselves. They go their own way, feeding
their own egos!
These self-seeking prophets claimed to have heard from God.
Theirs, they claimed, was a prophetic word directly from heaven.
"They say, Jehovah saith, when Jehovah hath not sent them,
and they caused others to hope that their word would be
verified" (Ezekiel 13:6).
The multitudes of God's people who run about to hear only
soothing messages need to take a second honest look at what they
are hearing and believing.
"Have ye not seen a deceiving vision and spoken a lying
divination when you said Jehovah saith whereas I have not
spoken" (Ezekiel 13:7)
"They have seduced my people, saying, Peace, when there
was not peace" (Ezekiel 13:10).
Their message was, "God told me all is well. No trouble
ahead. Good times! No trial or tribulation. God's desire is that
all be happy, prosperous and at ease.... " Jehovah calls that
deception! I don't think ministers are taking seriously enough the
tragedy of preaching the wrong message. How dare we preach peace
and endless good times to a nation and a people on the brink of
Israel's sin was about to explode in unbelievable fires of
divine wrath. Ezekiel did not want to preach such a disturbing
message, especially to a people who had heaped to themselves
pillow prophets who went about telling God's people that all was
Listen to what God was trying to say to His people.
"Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah: like as the wood of
the vine amongst the trees of the forest, which I have given unto
the fire to devour, so have I given the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
And I will set my face against them: from one fire shall they
escape that another fire may devour them.... I have set my face
against them.... I will make this land desolate, because they have
trespassed a trespass, saith the Lord Jehovah" (Ezekiel 15:
The people rejected the true Word of God. The masses ran off
after their favorite teachers to hear the deceptive message --
"God is not that kind of God. He desires only the best for us
all. Great peace and good times lay ahead. Don't listen to the old
prophets of doom. God told me, right from His throne room that the
best is yet to come."
I ask you, what will those pillow prophets do when God begins
to judge the sins of this nation and cut off its bread and its
fullness? Think of the unprepared multitudes of sincere Christians
who should be repenting of lukewarmness; who should be weeping
because of compromise and covetousness; who should be forsaking
all rather than accumulating.
Thank God the Holy Spirit is raising up a holy people who are
sick of all the self-centered ministries, and their cry is,
"We would see Jesus" The man-centered gospel cannot last
much longer. A time of purging is ahead. We are heading into
refining fires. While the covetous lounge on their beds of ease
and comfort themselves with luxuries, a remnant will break away
and go out seeking the Bridegroom. Christ is going to reveal
Himself to the humble, the poor in spirit, and the true Word of
the Lord will flow forth with unction and power. Union with Christ
will become the pearl of great price.
2. The true man of God preaches
and practices self denial.
Compare this with what the pillow prophets focus on! God said
of them, "They pollute me among my people for handfuls of
barley, and for morsels of bread... they lie to my people"
(Ezekiel 13:19). A modern translation is, "These pillow
prophets have money on their minds. It has made liars of
them." Here is the full picture of a pillow prophet. He lets
his imagination run wild. He operates on the idea that prosperity
will last forever. He builds on dreams and schemes. To do it, he
needs money -- lots of it. His need for money becomes the focus of
ministry. He ends up telling lies to God's people to get it. Then
he pollutes it all by saying, "God told me"
The message of Jesus Christ is painfully blunt -- deny yourself
and take up your cross.
"Then said Jesus unto his disciples if any man will come
after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow
me" (Matthew 16:24).
Self denial -- what a foreign sounding concept in this day of
self-pampering and ease. The pillow prophets have rejected it flat
out. Self denial is the giving up and forsaking of all and
everything that hinders the constant presence of Christ.
There is no merit in self denial. We are saved and secured by
grace alone. It is not to be entered into to earn benefits from
God. But self denial removes hindrances to constant communion with
Christ. Paul said, "I bring my body under... and bring it
under subjection: lest by any means, when I have preached to
others, I myself should be a castaway" (1 Corinthians 9:27).
We are not bringing our bodies under control; our passions and
appetites are not under subjection. Sensuous television programs
now whet the appetites among Christians for pornography. Lust is
nearly out of control, even in the ministry. Almost daily I hear
of ministers that are spending hours viewing X-rated movies and
Multitudes of God's people, including preachers of the gospel,
waste precious hours lounging before the TV idol. Like Lot, our
minds are getting vexed by the things we see and hear.
Food is becoming the narcotic of believers. We don't need
cocaine or alcohol -- we have a legalized sedative -- food. Never
in all my ministry have I seen so many Christians with appetites
out of control.
The deepest truth about self denial goes beyond giving up
material things. You can sell your TV, shun all erotic sights and
sounds, and bring all appetites under control, and still not have
What Christ is calling for is a kind of devotion to Himself
that expels everything in the heart that hinders. It is a
commitment to becoming absolutely nothing before God and man. It
is being able to say with Paul, "I no longer live-- it is
Christ living in me.
The world must lose its charm to us. We must die to all self
ambition -- to all attachments to earthly things, until we can
honestly say, "I am dead to this world and all it represents.
I no longer live."
Physically alive, yes! But I must die to all that hinders my
vision and love for Christ. Whatever it is -- it must go. Lust?
Self-made plans? Bitterness, grudges? Recognition, self esteem? I
must die to it all. I must bring it all to the cross and execute
Why is it that Christians who are about to die become so
detached from the world and material and physical things? Because
eternity is in view. It all pales in comparison to the joy ahead.
Why can't we live like that all the time? Why not keep our minds
fixed on Christ at all times?
3. A true man of God has
a holy boldness against sin
-- he never whitewashes evil.
The pillow prophets have no foundation of holiness upon which
to build. Ezekiel said, "Their foundation thereof shall be
The pillow prophets were building walls with untempered mortar
and painting the flaws over with whitewash. Worst of all, their
message and manner "grieved the hearts of the righteous
because of their falsehoods" (Ezekiel 13:22).
And they "strengthened the hands of the wicked." God
accused them of damning souls by ignoring sin. It grieved God that
compromising children of God were being encouraged rather than
exposed. Lightness about sin only confirmed them in their
God will not let any minister of the gospel grieve or trouble
His chosen and devoted ones without His express permission. But
neither will He permit prophets of ease to call evil good and
pamper backslidden Christians who need to repent.
Certainly we are called to proclaim the gospel of grace, mercy
and pardon. But the man of God is also commanded to "Lift up
his voice, cry aloud, and spare not -- showing my people their
Could it be we can't lift up a holy standard because of
corruption in our own hearts? Have our own sins robbed us of holy
boldness? Do we wink at the sins of others because of besetting
sins in our hearts?
Do you know of a man of God who boldly thunders against sin?
Does his message ring, not of legalism, but of deep personal
purity? Then run to his feet -- sit under his message, for he has
the truth that will set you free. He is the true prophet of God,
and he makes all other prophets tremble and fear. The pillow
prophets despise him because he walks with truth in the inward
Seek out a man of God who makes Christ real! One who makes you
sit up and take notice that he has been with Jesus. One who
convicts you for wasting time and for becoming earthly minded. One
who will point a finger in your face, discern sin, and cry out,
"Thou art the man " He is the one who truly loves you
and looks out for your soul.
The pillow prophets are building their huge walls. They look
very successful and blessed. But Jehovah says, "Your walls
shall fall. I will bring it all down with my stormy wind. I will
demolish your wall and level it to the ground" (Ezekiel
God has told us that in these last days our young men shall see
visions. Not of success, of prosperity or of great achievements.
There will be but one vision for all -- CHRIST!