WHO WERE GOD’s TRUE PROPHETS?
1. THE PROPHETS WERE CALLED & CHOSEN BY GOD: A person did not volunteer to be a prophet–prophets were handpicked by God. “For the prophecy came NOT in old time BY THE WILL OF MAN: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost,” 2 Pet 1:21. “I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycamore fruit…and the LORD said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel…” Amos 7:14-15. It was such a memorable event when God chose and approached the prophet-to-be, that many wrote about it: “…the word of the LORD which came…” to Samuel, to Ezekiel, to Hosea, to Joel, to Jonah, to Micah, to Zephaniah; to Haggai, to Zechariah. (Also Jer. 14:14; 23:21).
2. THE PROPHETS WERE SPOKESMEN FOR GOD: The prophets were God’s mouthpieces; messengers God called and sent with His messages to men. God communicated through the prophets. “I do send thee unto them; and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD…” Eze 2:4. Over 900 times in the Bible, the prophets introduced God’s messages with: “Thus saith the Lord…” God literally put His words in His prophets’ mouths. “…the LORD said… thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak…Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth,” Jer 1:7-9. “And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD? Now therefore go, and I (God) will be with thy (Moses) mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say,” Ex 4:11-12. (Also Deut 18:19; Is 51:15-16; Eze 3:10-11; Mark 13:10-11; Acts 3:21)
3. THE PROPHETS WERE CONFIRMED BY SIGNS & WONDERS: The Israelites knew that “God ALONE doeth great wonders…” Ps 136:4. The prophets’ messages were accompanied by miracles, tokens, signs and wonders. Isaiah said, “This sign shalt thou have of the LORD, that the LORD will do the thing that he hath spoken: shall the shadow go forward ten degrees, or go back ten degrees?” 2 Kgs 20:9. Signs also accompanied the apostles’ messages. “…they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following,” Mark 16:19-20. (Also, John 6:29-31; Acts 2:22, 5:12, 2 Cor 12:12; Ex 4:17; Jos 3:7; Dan 6:27) God didn’t leave any room to doubt whether or not a prophet was truly HIS prophet. Their credentials were far from dubious. “For if the trumpet (prophet?) give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?” 1 Cor 14:8.
4. THE PROPHETS WERE RECEIVERS OF REVELATIONS: “…I the LORD will make myself known unto him (the prophet) in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream,” Num 12:6. God disclosed revelations to the prophets, who were both foretellers and forth tellers.
5. THE PROPHETS WERE DELIVERERS OF PROPHECY: Prophecy starts with a revelation. When an event came to pass that a prophet had predicted, it established a true prophet’s reputation. “And when this cometh to pass…then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them,” Eze 33:33, 2:5. Fulfilled prophecy not only validated the messenger, but also proved God was the source and originator. “…and when this cometh, ye shall know that I am the Lord GOD,” Eze 24:24, Ex 10:2. (Also Ex 6:7, 9:29; 1 Kgs 18:39, Eze 6:10, 37:14).
6. THE PROPHETS WERE KNOWN BY THEIR FRUIT: “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit, Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” Mat 7:16-20: “Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree…bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.” Jas 3:11-12
7. THE PROPHETS’ WORDS AGREED WITH WRITTEN SCRIPTURE: A prophet’s words spoken in the name of the Lord never conflicted with the Scripture. “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them,” Is 8:20. “And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written…” Acts 15:15; (see also 2 Pet 3:2). “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation,” 2 Pet 1:20.
8. THE PROPHETS’ AUTHORITY WAS GIVEN BY GOD: Disaster fell on those who dared to murmur at God’s prophets. “…wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?” Num 12:8. When Korah and his men rose up against Moses and Aaron, the Lord left no doubt that it was He who gave Moses and Aaron their authority and anointing when Aaron’s rod budded; and when Korah and all his men were annihilated as the earth opened… “and swallowed them up, and their houses…and all their goods…went down alive into the pit…and they perished from among the congregation,” Num 16:1-50. The prophets’ authority came from God, and clearly, it doesn’t pay to trifle with God’s chosen prophets!
9. THE PROPHETS WERE WISE & ACCURATE: True prophets’ reputations were partially established by their perfect accuracy. “Behold now, there is in this city a man of God, (prophet) and he is an honorable man; ALL that he saith cometh surely to pass,” 1 Sam 9:6. ALL the predictions, curses and blessings of a true prophet ALWAYS came to pass. How could it be otherwise? God initiated the prophet’s message, and “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” Num 23:19. The message validated the messenger of God. “For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist,” Luke 21:15.
10. SOME PROPHETS WERE FALSE PROPHETS: Only a false prophet can speak lies in the name of the Lord, for God controlled His true prophet’s mouth, mind, words, messages and actions for their entire life. “Thus saith the Lord…that confirmeth the word of his servant, and performeth the counsel of his messengers…” Is 44:24-26. “Know now that there shall fall unto the earth NOTHING of the word of the LORD…for the LORD hath done that which he spake by his servant Elijah,” 2 Kgs 10:10.
It only took one false prophecy to sentence a false prophet to death (Deut 13:5, 18:20) “Hearken NOT unto the words of the (false) prophets…they speak a vision of their own heart, and NOT out of the mouth of the Lord…I sent them not, nor commanded them; therefore, they (false prophets) shall not profit this people AT ALL,” Jer 23:16, 32. “…prophesy against the prophets of Israel that prophesy…out of their own hearts…Thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe unto the foolish prophets that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!…They have seen vanity and lying divination, saying, The LORD saith: and the LORD hath not sent them: and they have made others to hope… Therefore…Because ye have spoken vanity, and seen lies …I am against you…” Eze 13:1-13.
11. GOD’s TEST FOR A PROPHET: The Israelites asked in Deut 18:21-22: “How may we know the word which the Lord has NOT spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously.” The Test of Time proved a prophet. A true prophet made only 100% accurate statements and predictions.
12. PROPHETS IN THE NEW COVENANT: Jeremiah and Isaiah prophesied of a time when God would not instruct his children through prophets, Jer 31:33-34, Is 30:20-21; a time when God would cease to use prophets as mediators: “For there is one God and ONE mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,” 1 Tim 2:5. In the transition period between the Old and New Covenants, prophets and apostles helped to establish and confirm the New with signs, miracles and wonders. Prophets and gifts ceased (1 Cor 13:8) after the faith had been delivered (past tense), “once for all,” an event completed in the past which never needs to be repeated, Jude 3; and after “All things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Pet 1:3) regarding the doctrine of Christ were given (2 John 9).
“God, who at sundry (various) times and in divers (diverse) manners spake IN TIME PAST unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son,” Heb 1:1-2. John the Baptist was the last prophet: “For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John,” Mat 11:1. “ 16 The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it,” Luke 16:16.
After these things, the time had passed when God spoke through prophets. He has NOW spoken through Christ–Jesus was God’s final Word. Since then, God has not given any new, additional or further revelation that is not found in the Bible. NOW, the only reliable source for the doctrine or teaching of Christ is the Bible: “The Scripture is able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus,” 2 Tim 3:15. The Scripture is sufficient, for in it “ALL the counsel of God is declared,” Acts 20:27. God ceased to use prophets, and the Holy Spirit began to guide and teach God’s children, individually (Heb 10:16).
13. GOD’S TRUE CHURCH: Now, Christ is the head of the Church. Though the Church will be persecuted, it is prophesied that it will survive and triumph over ALL the powers that rise against it; and that “…the gates of hell shall not prevail against it,” Mat 16:18. It is impossible for God’s true church to be exterminated. The church will endure until Jesus returns.
According to the Scripture, God’s truth and way has never skipped a generation, has always been upon the earth and His name and truth will be remembered by ALL generations. “My righteousness shall be forever, and my salvation from generation to generation,” Is 51:8. (Also Ps 33:11, 72:5, 79:13, 90:1, 100:5, 106:31, 119:89-90, 135:13, 146:10; Luke 1:48-50, 1 Pet. 1:23)
Therefore, God’s truth and way was existing on the earth at the turn of this century when Wm Irvine founded his movement. The Bible cautions against those who are allegedly “raised up” “for …of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them; therefore watch,” Acts 20:30. “And many false prophets shall arise and shall deceive many,” Mat 24:11.
WHO WAS WILLIAM IRVINE?
Around 1897, it occurred to a Scotsman named William Irvine that God may have intended for Jesus’ instructions to His disciples in Matthew 10 to extend to all preachers until the end of time. (NOTE: Jesus revised His instructions in Luke 22:35-36). To try out his theory, Irvine and a few others made some experimental missions without prearranged or stockpiled financial support. By their standards and in their opinions, their ventures were successful. While Irvine was still a pilgrim worker with the Faith Mission of Scotland, he began to develop his own independent ministry. He was totally separated from the Faith Mission by 1901.
John Long, one of the two instruments used at the origin of the Go-Preacher Movement, (John Longs Journal, 1907) was responsible for obtaining the site for Irvine’s first independent mission held in Nenagh, Ireland. Gradually, others volunteered to join his ministry, including George Walker, Jack Carroll, Willie Gill and Ed Cooney. Wm. Irvine duplicated many of the Faith Mission practices, traditions and nomenclature. He copied their homeless, itinerant workers who preached in pairs solely on faith, used portable wooden baches, had conventions, meetings, women preachers who wore black stockings, did not ask for money. He also copied Faith Mission religious jargon, i.e. terms like professing, workers, missions, fields, the work, special meeting, harvest field, etc.
Soon after the 1903 inaugural convention in Rathmolyon, Ireland, the movement spread worldwide.
Some of Irvine’s workers believed the Matthew 10 instructions were not rescinded (Luke 22:35-36) and believed that they were still applicable to all preachers. Further, they believed that Irvine’s method of ministers going out to preach by the Matthew 10 instructions to the disciples was “God’s only true way.” Consequently, they felt they owed their salvation to a “revelation from God” to Wm Irvine. This, in turn, made Wm Irvine the “Spiritual Adam,” through whom all successive workers received their spiritual life. Many of Irvine’s followers believed that he was raised up and used by God to restore the New Testament ministry. Because Irvine’s workers saw themselves as the only ones who were truly following this New Testament pattern for ministers, they leaped to conclude that they were the ONLY true ministers of God on earth.
Irvine’s brainstorm and experiment to start the ministry and fellowship (now commonly called “the truth”) came to be viewed by some as a revelation from God. THE GREAT EXPERIMENT turned into “The Great Revelation.” Those who receive revelations and/or messages from God are God’s Prophets. Thus by definition, William Irvine was “a prophet.” According to the Bible, there are two kinds of prophets, true and false.
It was made mandatory that all workers believe and teach that eternal life could only be obtained through (1) hearing, believing and professing through Irvine or a worker who professed through him and (2) following the way Irvine started [even though Wm. Irvine professed through a Presbyterian minister, Rev. John McNeill] At first, most converts became workers. The “saints” position and church meetings in the homes were established later. Later William Irvine would call these early religious methods he conceived and originated his “Alpha Gospel.”
It was little more than 100 years ago that these Go-Preachers or “The Testimony,” as some called Irvine’s workers, created no small stir around the Ireland countryside. Their activities were particularly well reported upon by the newspaper, The Impartial Reporter and Farmers Journal, located in the Northern Ireland town of Enniskillen, situated near Crocknacrieve, the location of the first large annual conventions. (See also the book, The Secret Sect by Doug & Helen Parker.)
For roughly 15 to 17 years, (1897 to 1914), from the time William Irvine was 34 to 51 years old, he ruled over The Testimony, which started from an idea he experimented with. Then, the Great Scandal was uncovered. Wm. Irvine was accused of immorality. From comments made, one gathers that Irvine had been discovered in a very compromising situation; possibly some sinful act of “the flesh,” the precise nature of which is not specified. The chief workers were not willing to overlook a sin that Wm. Irvine had been or was involved in, and the Founder found himself dethroned in September 1914, at the outset of World War I, which began in August 1914 and ended November 11, 1918.
In 1914, Irvine was forced out of his position as leader; his “kingdom” was divided among his closest friends. They took control of various areas. George Walker claimed Eastern USA; Jack Carroll took Western USA; John Hardie and Bill Carroll took Australia; Wilson McClung-New Zealand, etc. From 1914 to 1918, Irvine remained connected to church he started, the workers and meetings, but the exact nature of his association is unknown; i.e. as a worker or saint. He was in California in April 1919.
In a letter to William Carroll, Wm. Irvine wrote, “I was rejected and despised and cast out to die; my birthright being divided amongst my children and enemies. The Jesus Way was stolen, confiscated and misappropriated…taken over in my presence…I am the victim of heel-bruisers.” The reasons given now as to what happened to Wm Irvine are numerous. The most common are: (1) Irvine became arrogant, proud, got too big within himself; (2) Irvine succumbed to temptation with women; was a womanizer (3) Irvine became mentally unstable; lost his mind; got off track.
FURTHER REVELATION: In late 1918, Irvine believed that “The Lord opened up Revelation to me.” He said that “The Testimony” or “Alpha Days” ended when the “Omega Days” began. The cut-off date for the Alpha Days was August 4, 1914, simultaneous with the beginning of World War I. Irvine coined the term “Alpha Gospel” for the Good News Message that Irvine, Jesus and Paul preached from 33 A.D. until August 4, 1914. Those who accepted his Alpha Gospel became part of a group he refers to in his letters as “The Testimony,” or “Saints.” He called his later teachings regarding the Book of Revelation, the “Omega Message,” which is sometimes shortened to “The Message.” Those who accepted and followed the “The Message,” were referred to as “Little Ones” and “Those who have Ears to Hear,” and today some call them the “Message People.”
Wm Irvine believed he had been divinely appointed to bring Jesus’ last message to the world before the end of the Age of Grace. Thus, on August 4, 1914, the Testimony Days (Alpha Gospel Days) came to an end. And at the same time, August 4, 1914, was THE BEGINNING of the New Thing, the Judgment Days or Program, the Omega Message and the Last Message of Jesus Christ to the World. One era ended, and another began. However, it wasn’t until four years afterwards, in 1918, that Wm Irvine received began to see in hindsight what (he believed) had taken actually place in 1914.
In 1918, in hindsight, Wm Irvine declared that four (4) years earlier, on August 4, 1914, Jesus had taken the Throne, the Heavens were closed, and God’s Judgment Program began. The Age of Grace and the days of the Alpha Days were over. The days for spreading the good news (gospel) were ended. Love, mercy and forgiveness by faith were no longer offered to the world. There was no further need for workers to go out preaching any longer since the Alpha Days were finished, over, ended. The Holy Spirit no longer spoke to men individually. From that point on, God’s Message to mankind became Judgment and Wrath; there is no Good News, unless a person is allied with the Omega Jesus.
Initially, Irvine’s principal workers felt certain that his Alpha Gospel to originate the “The Testimony” was a “restoration” of God’s Scriptural pattern for ministers, and believed that his ministry and fellowship were God’s only true New Testament church. Originally, most of the workers believed Irvine was “highly favored” and “used” by God,” and they were certain his “Alpha Gospel” was a revelation to introduce religious methods which were ordained by God. However, most of his friends and the workers did not view his “Omega Gospel” in this same light…far from it!
So in 1918, Irvine went to Jerusalem to be on hand when Jesus returned. He lived there for over 30 years, supporting himself by working temporary jobs and his loyal Omega followers sent him money in their letters. After Revelation began to open up to him, Irvine wrote innumerable letters to his friends and inquirers. He wrote about his progressive revelations to his followers who were spread all over the world; to the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA and South Africa.
Today, some there are a few Omega followers who still follow Irvine’s Omega teachings. Most of his followers have a private collection of his letters. Most of Irvine’s original letters were handwritten, using a fountain pen, and were carefully preserved, copied, typed and distributed to other followers. They have been handed down through generations. His followers formed a loose-knit group who didn’t meet together regularly and held no worship services. His followers believe Wm. Irvine was the greatest prophet this world has ever known. He predicted a great worldwide famine, and encouraged people to bury food and supplies, and many of his followers did.
His death in 1947 at the age of 84 from throat cancer shocked his loyal followers, who were now aware he had cancer. Irvine wasn’t supposed to die—he had predicted over and over again that in his lifetime, he would be one of the Two Witnesses in Rev 11:1-11 who were to be killed in Jerusalem and lie dead in the streets for 3 days and rise again (Rev 11:1-11). It didn’t happen. He also predicted other events that would happen after he rose to life again. Some of his followers revised their expectations and began to look for Wm Irvine to return later WITH the Apostle John. Others cut short their losses, threw in the towel and followed his teachings no more.
JUDGE FOR YOURSELF…
WAS WILLIAM IRVINE REALLY A TRUE PROPHET?
IF Irvine was truly a prophet sent by God who was forced out by the workers, then God must be very, very angry. The audacity of mere men to “uncall” a prophet of God! How could they have DARED to question Irvine’s calling, to debar, disfellowship, excommunicate him? Remember what happened to Korah and his men who attempted this very same thing with Moses! (Numbers 16)
IF Irvine was a true prophet of God, how could the workers even THINK of touching the Lord’s anointed? How did they have the nerve to excommunicate him from the very fellowship he supposedly founded at God’s direction? To reject and expel him from what God supposedly called him to start?? And to substitute themselves in his place??
IF Irvine was truly a prophet called by God, have you been following the right or wrong ministers? Are you a part of the right or wrong group?
IF God’s true church cannot be exterminated, how could it possibly need Restoring? Regenerating? Restarting? Reviving? IF God’s way needed restoring, the founder of Faith Mission beat Irvine to it.
IS THERE A BIBLICAL PRECEDENT WHERE A TRUE PROPHET:
• Lost his mind?
• Failed God’s test for a prophet?
• First gave true prophecies and later gave false prophesies?
• Was right part of the time and wrong part of the time?
• Of dubious qualifications delivered God’s message?
ARE THERE ANY BIBLICAL PROPHECIES THAT PREDICT:
• God’s truth or church will die out?
• God’s true church will resurface, re-emerge, regenerate, restart, be revived or restored again?
• A man, men or prophet(s) will be raised up to restore God’s true way which died out?
CONCERNING WILLIAM IRVINE:
• What credentials of a true prophet did he have?
• What miracles confirmed he was a prophet?
• What fruit did he have to recommend him?
• What predictions of his were not fulfilled?
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
WAS WILLIAM IRVINE REALLY A TRUE PROPHET?