GOD IS JUDGING THE HOUSE OF ELI
"11 Then the Lord said to Samuel: “Behold, I will do something in Israel at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle.
12 In that day I will perform against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end.
13 For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them.
14 And therefore I have sworn to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.”
This word has been coming to me for quite some time in my prayer time with the Lord, as I've prepared messages the last few years, and also through visions and dreams. As is the nature of processing prophetic revelation, all is not revealed at first. Initially, bits and pieces come to prepare for greater downloads in the future as you steward the little to grow strong enough to bear the glory of the word which is sure to later come. The glory of this word has intensified the last few months and it is both sobering, frightening, and encouraging all at the same time. As God judges the house of Eli, he raises up Samuel. As God judges the house of Eli for their sins and their inability to bring righteous correction and judgment into the house of God, Samuel can emerge and establish the kingdom. This is a major issue which many have faced these last several years. Why has the kingdom not been established the way we’ve been promised? Why did we seemingly lose the ark (the glory revival) in this movement? I believe the answer in part is because of the failures of Eli and his sons in this movement.
I understand scripturally Eli to be a righteous man. He helped Hannah to believe for God’s promise in her life (1 Sam.1:17). He helped Samuel grow in hearing the voice of God (1 Sam.3:1-10). He humbly accepted God’s judgment concerning his house and did not rebuke Samuel for reminding him of it (1 Sam.3:17-18). But for all of Eli’s godly traits, he had fatal flaws which ultimately led to the end of his house and the losing of the ark. We’ve found many of these traits today in leadership in the charismatic church.
Eli’s eyes grew dim, even in the natural, which was prophetic of spiritual blindness & deception in the house of God which cripples a leader from seeing things from God’s perspective (1 Sam.3:2). Eli couldn’t seem to clearly not see how to handle things in a righteous godly way according to the word and the spirit of counsel. Eli trained Samuel (who was a spiritual son of his) in the ways of the Lord, even in how to hear the voice of God and respond to it, but ultimately Eli had become so blind that the young boy he reared in God's ways had to hear for him. Eli's last prophetic word came from this boy and it pertained to the end of his house and the judgment of him and his sons. This is happening today in the charismatic church. Some of the pioneers in the prophetic movement have become so blind and deluded, by necessity, God has raised up a new Samuel company to pronounce judgment on the old order. These Samuels were taught the ways of God, how to hear the voice of God, how to discern by visions and dreams, by this old order of Eli, yet they are the ones whom the Lord is using to discern clearly in this hour as Eli’s eyes have grown dim, his sons sins unchecked and unchallenged.
Eli wasn't committing abominations in the house of God. Hophni and Phineas, his sons, were. Eli wasn’t committing sexual sins and defiling the temple, his sons were. Eli wasn't abusing his position of power to lay with women at the door of the tabernacle. His sons were. Eli wasn't the one doing these things, but ultimately Eli still suffered the consequences of the sins of his house because God held him responsible. Thus is the weight and burden of leadership. When God puts you in authority the Lord not only judges you for what you do with your authority, but also for what you refuse to do with your authority. The ministers of God’s house are charged with keeping the house clean and it’s servants held to a standard of holiness and heart repentance. That’s not perfection, but a willingness to be obedient to the word and commandments of the Lord out of love for Jesus. Scripture charges us with “knowing those that labor among us” (1 Thes.5:12).
“For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them.”
The Hebrew word for vile here is qalal. It’s translated the most by far as “cursed”. This Hebrew word is used in (Gen.8:21).
“And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse (qalal) the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more everything living, as I have done.”
The imagination of Eli’s son’s hearts were evil and it shifted the atmosphere giving rights to the demonic. They made themselves and their office cursed, a target for judgment, and it eventually led to them losing the ark of God to the Philistines.
How many times have we seen in revival history the Lord come down in his kabawd weighty glory, only to have the priests who bear the ark corrupted and defiled, not able or willing to bear the ark honorably and keep it out of the hands of the Philistines? I think of the revival in the 40’s and 50’s. The ministers got into competition, contending with their brethren, greed, lust, and empire building. The Lord sent a prophet to Chicago in 1955 to announce the end of that precious move of God, in large part due to ministers who could not bear the ark with integrity. I think of the revival which happened a few years ago at Lakeland. Such a mighty move of God. Never have we seen a revival spread around the world through media with such magnitude and force, only to be lost months later because of sexual sin and lust. We haven’t seen the ark quite like that in this movement since then, but I believe the Lord is dealing with the root issues that lost the ark to begin with. He’s dealing with the house of Eli.
Samuel brought the kingdom and effectively transitioned the nation of Israel from the 450 years of judges into the very throne of David, the seat of Messiah’s future reign in the earth from Jerusalem. In our day we are in such a kingdom shift, in such a kingdom reformation, and the Samuel company is arising. As much as it broke Samuel the boy’s heart to pronounce judgment on his father’s house and on his sons, He did it in obedience, and in the end Eli saw the counsel of the Lord in the boy’s word and said yes and amen to it. Let us say yes and amen to the word of the Lord in this season. Let us say yes to the kingdom transition that we’re in that brings judgment and cleansing but also ushers in the greater glory, the very kingdom of God we’ve all been seeking and praying for all these years. Let us be found with hearts of flesh, not hearts of stone, willing and obedient to the Lord in this hour so that we can eat the good of this promised land we’ve all been dreaming of these forty years!
BEARING THE SWORD
“For he is God's minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.”
Contextually, Romans 13 applies to civic authority & worldly government, but still none the less there are principles of authority in such scriptures that translate into any situation where authority is operating. The centurion which Jesus encountered in (Matt.8) is a great example. He was a man under authority in the Roman military machine, yet those principles of authority were ultimately universal and kingdom. Those principles of authority were related directly to Jesus’ authority over sickness in the story.
Concerning judgment on the house of Eli: this judgment is coming not only because of blatant sin but also the inability of leaders to bear the sword. Their bearing of the sword in vain has led to many people being hurt by ungodly leaders, and also people no longer trusting the charismatic church in many ways as a safe place for worship.
When operating under authority, you’re given a sword. With that sword you’re to be a terror to evil. Your church or ministry should be the last place that a predatory spirit in a leader should want to come. Your church should be the last place that an abusive spirit should want to come. Your church should be a safe place for God’s people and demons should fear to try and use your ground for unholy things, because you do not bear the sword in vain. You should be a person of justice, righteousness, purity, and holiness. You should be a leader that boldly and fearlessly confronts unrepentant sin, backbiting, gossip, etc. The enemy should fear you because he knows that you fear God more than you fear man.
This unfortunately has not been the case in many churches of late. In many cases, certain leaders have become too big and too powerful for the sword. They’ve become too big for biblical justice. In many cases, their consideration is taken above any one who has been hurt by them. They are like Hillary Clinton. The same rules do not apply. They are the Hophnis and Phineas’ of the charismatic church. They feast on the vulnerability of God’s people. They take advantage of innocent worshipers, many of whom have a pure desire to seek God. They exploit the sheep and take pleasure in their sheering, service after service, offering after offering. In some cases, people are being taken advantage of sexually and sensually. And all the while people are asking, “Where are the fathers? Where are those whom the lord has charged with not bearing the sword in vain? Where are those in authority that should be a terror to these wicked priests? Where are the Samuels that will rebuke the Sauls for disobedience? Where are the Nathans who will call David out saying, “you are the man (2 Sam.12:7)”?”.
Up until this point, in the place of Samuel and Nathan has too often been Eli: A leader who has godly traits, but has failed to bring justice, righteous judgment, and has failed to create a safe and trustworthy priesthood who handles the holy things of God with integrity. Because of this, the judgment has come, and may it put the fear of God in other leaders for years to come. May it serve as a reminder that those who bear the sword should not do so in vain.
In closing, I wish to remind those reading this word that the sword is not always used, and at best is used sparingly, for it is an instrument of judgment and should be handled with a heavy heart. When God is saying sheath the sword, that is the time allotted called “mercy” where God withholds just punishment giving time for people to repent and get right with the Lord. But eventually, that time passes, and the Lord must repay. He must recompense for evil. He must cleanse his house with prejudice. When that day comes, don’t be an Eli. Don’t hide behind your kind smile and your good works refusing to do what is necessary concerning your charge of authority in the house of God. You’ve been made a servant under authority not for your looks, not for your pleasant preaching style, but to govern well the house of God so that God might have his way and worshipers might minister to the Lord in safety. Understand the weight you carry. God will hold you responsible for Hophni and Phineas’ whom you refuse to restrain.
In his service,
"You may be surprised at the maturity and revelatory gifting from such a young prophet as Stephen Powell."
- Steve Shultz
"Stephen Powell may be a relatively new voice within the prophetic movement, but it's clear God is using him in a very powerful way."
- Bob Eschliman