“If I be a lying prophet”: the strange case of the eulogist’s death
BRIDGEPORT, CT – The bell has tolled for the late Bishop Walter Hawkins’ eulogist, leaving behind questions about the power of words and the retribution of God. Bishop Kenneth Moales died of an unexpected heart attack Sept 21st, just 30 days after a strange remark at the end of his sermon. He was president of the National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses and a well known speaker and singer at black mega churches and conferences across the country.
At the closing of his obsequies for Bishop Hawkins, Moales did something some observers at the service called unusual.
Apparently the bishop had sermonized from the 2 book of Kings (that part isn’t available). Suddenly, after reciting 2 Kings 23:30b seven times, he summoned up Hawkins’ son Jamie and “anointed” him to be the late singer’s “successor”. The action was understood by many in attendance to be a consecration to the pastorate of his father’s Love Center Church.
The video below captures Moales’ initial boldness, then doubt to cautious, then bold move to recreate something he referenced in scripture.
At 4:55 in the video, Moales declares “If I be a lying prophet may I never ever preach again.” Perhaps uncertain that what he was doing was right, he acknowledges that he “wasnt going to do this” [anoint Hawkins] but remanded the decision on God telling him to “go back and get the oil” (4:59). But did those words prove to be deadly for Bishop Moales?
The illict “consecration” of a wicked heir
The problem with Moales’ declaration was his gross misuse and application of the passage he cited. We can determine that by following the storyline from a contextual beginning. The story is a serious one with deep lessons about the penalties of rejecting God’s instructions.
1. Moales only quoted part of the verse scripture serveral times for emphasis to support his forthcoming actions. Had he cited the entire verse in context, it would have presented a picture vastly different that what he used it for. Even though [King] Josiah had instituted a scorched earth policy against idolatry in Judah, even that wasnt enough to turn the Lord’s anger at the people.
” Nevertheless, the LORD did not turn away from the heat of his fierce anger, which burned against Judah because of all that Manasseh had done to provoke him to anger. 27 So the LORD said, “I will remove Judah also from my presence as I removed Israel, and I will reject Jerusalem, the city I chose, and this temple, about which I said, ‘There shall my Name be.’ (2 Kings 23:26-27)
God was angry at the people and yet they continued to ignore him and his promise to reject them.
Despite what Josiah had done, 2 Chronicles 35:20-27 reveals that his death was a direct result of his disobedience to the word of the Lord spoken to him by the Egyptian king.
“What quarrel is there between you and me, O king of Judah? It is not you I am attacking at this time, but the house with which I am at war. God has told me to hurry; so stop opposing God, who is with me, or he will destroy you.” (NIV)
2. The scripture says it was the people who anointed Josiah’s son, not God. Its evident in the following verses that God did not sanction this human “anointing” because Jehoahaz was a wicked man, despite being Josiah’s son and heir apparent. Moales acknowledged that Jamie Hawkins “wasnt ready” (not saved?), but excused it by saying that a person could be “anointed but not ready.” This may be true in some cases, but only when God has sanctioned the consecration of the individual. In the passage Moales misused, he attributed to God a rebellious act by the people God had rejected.
3. God did not allow the illict consecration of Jehoahaz to stand. Just three months later, God sent the same Egyptian king who killed his father, to depose him and take him back to Egypt a slave.
Jehoahaz was twenty and three years old when he began to reign; and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his fathers had done.
And the king of Egypt deposed him at Jerusalem, and fined the land a hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold. [...] And Neco took Joahaz his brother, and carried him to Egypt. 2 Chronicles 36
If you want to see how this ended, read the entire chapter of 2 Chronicles 36. It is tragic indeed.
Postscript: I have heard numerous contemporary black church “prophets” make this same type of declaration before and I have always cringed at it. It seems a brash statement to make given the history of how God has dealt with false prophets. In fact, Josiah’s reforms included killing all the false prophets and burning their bones until nothing of them remained.
“And The Lord said to me: “The prophets are prophesying lies in My Name; I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds.” (Jeremiah 14:14 RSV)
“Your prophets have seen for you false and deceptive visions; they have not exposed your iniquity to restore your fortunes, but have seen for you oracles false and misleading” (Lamentations 2:14 RSV)
“And her prophets have daubed for them with whitewash, seeing false visions and divining lies for them, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord God,’ when The Lord has not spoken.” (Ezekiel 22:28 RSV)
Was Bishop Kenneth Moales the “lying prophet” he spoke about and did it cost him his life?
Do you believe that today in an era of “grace and mercy”, God will still strike down those who lie in his name?
Did Bishop Moales use the scriptures for an evil purpose and perhaps endanger those who participated in it?