Consider this passage as depicting the situation in much the same way that a dream would. Ahab is definitely deceived, and his prophets are deceiving him, without really intending to do anything except give him a favorable prognosis which they're hoping will prove true. So we get a story that serves to show that.
Their hope, that insistence on a favorable prognosis, becomes a filter between their prophetic office and the connection with God they'd need to fulfill it.
And it leads to Ahab's downfall, because he will not consult a prophet to receive God's truth-- which he distrusts, only get some holy yes-men to bless what he intends for his own reasons.
His fall is congruent with God's purpose, in that Ahab does not, in that incarnation, have the traits he'd need to serve God's intention properly. But God would, if it were compatible with Ahab's nature, have been even more pleased if Ahab could have repented.
This individual here decides what to interpret as 'dreamlike' based on what's presented as literal, concrete fact, vs what looks to me more like a writer's attempt at explanation.
We've got elements of the story clearly included as fact: Ahab tries, and succeeds in, getting his prophets to promise success in his war. He isn't interested in truth, doesn't expect it, doesn't get it. The war goes wrong and he dies.
We've now got a situation demanding explanation: How did all these prophets get it so spectacularly wrong? (The Law, if anyone wanted to follow it in this, would say they should all be taken out and stoned to death. Ahab is probably planning to do some such thing to Micaiah when he comes back alive from the battle.) Micaiah's vision gives him an explanation that leaves the other prophets simply mistaken; God intended to deceive Ahab.
I don't see God intending to deceive anybody to lead them to destruction. But people readily deceive themselves, and destruction can easily follow.
God might hide things from people who really need to make a mistake; sometimes I think I'd become literally insufferable if I didn't do something spectacularly dumb from time to time. That's how I try to reconcile what I know of God's benevolent guidance with my own heedlessness. If you've got a better explanation ("Forrest just isn't as sharp as he'd like to be," for example) I don't necessarily disagree.
But I can't buy "a spirit that impersonates God", in any sense but the human wish for God to be more convenient, more compliant to our short-run desires. It would imply too much divine connivance in our troubles.
Well lets look at the facts . . . the god of the old testament killed the first born of Egypt because of the errors of the leader of Egypt . . . Jesus killed no one.
The god of the old testament can not see into the future and repents of his mistake of making mankind and floods the world to erase his blunder.
Jesus of the new testament is the Alpha and Omega. He see the beginning and the end.
The god of the old testament demands a woman be stoned if she is not a virgin. Jesus did not condemn the woman caught in adultery.
The god of the old testament requests that men come to his mountain to see him . . . but then cautions them to stay back or they will die.
Jesus said "come to me . . . everyone and I will give you rest, for I am meek and lowly at heart and you will find rest for your souls."
The god of the old testament is a combination of Jewish Fables.
The two are not the same. They are the opposite . . . just as darkness is the opposite of light.
The Jews would have jumped up followed Jesus anywhere . . . if Jesus would have acted 1% like the old testament god that they had dreamed up.
Instead they called him a fake. And they killed him to prove their point.
When I was taken to Heaven . . . and I first saw Him . . . I did not recognize him because I was looking for the old testament god. An untouchable god, a hard cold god, a god that demands blood, a god that demands perfection.
Now . . . I know because . . .I've sat on his lap and hugged and kissed him, and there is no anger in him. There never was any anger in him . . . and there will never be any anger in him. His is totally 100% love.
Were you expecting a human-formed, patchwork image of God to be perfectly accurate?
Basically you've got an anthology put together by adherents of the Jewish state religion of their time. It's uneven, but they did put it together as honestly as they knew how, including criticisms by prophets they (or any nation) would have happily stoned a few years earlier.
Jesus was Jewish, like all his early followers. He was addressing specificly Jewish concerns: What later readers mistake for a concern with "having sins forgiven" was essentially about: How and when can we (re)establish ourselves in God's good graces, become freed of pagan domination & exploitation, crushing political/economic relations between fellow-Jews-- & start living in a state of Shalom under God's care, the deal our ancestors were promised?
Many of his contemporary Jews were interpreting the "old testament" materials much as you've been doing-- thinking that God was more concerned with eating kosher than with protecting the poor, or that military victories over the goyim was the way they could expect God to "save" them. Jesus was more familiar than you or I with those materials, and that wasn't the meaning he saw in them.
God has always worked under a sort of communications barrier; if you've ever been in charge of a small child you'll have a good notion of what I'm talking about. It isn't that you can't yell at the child or overpower him; it's that doing this doesn't get across what you'd want it to. Sometimes you just need to settle for what understanding he makes for himself.
Well, you know... Look at most European paintings of Jesus, and he won't look at all Jewish. But he was, and they don't seem to have criticized his appearance.
Thunder and lightning & a high throne cluttered with angels: well, that's how God looks to a monarchist. (Or to some petty tyrant trying to force you to obey the tyrant in his head.)
Look, that nice Jesus guy was telling his countrymen that if they didn't start behaving more like God (as you've described Him) they were soon going through some really ugly calamities. A very Jewish, very Biblical sort of prediction, you might say. And so it was.
I was in Brazil in 2004 on a mission trip. One of our crew that had the gift of prophesy . . . they told a young mother . . . " in the future you are going to get pregnant and have a baby . . . however the birthing process will be hard."
When we came back the next year everything happened to the mother just as was stated. However everyone at that church was torqued at the prophet . . . because they thought he had cursed the woman.
Predicting the future with out prejudice is not cursing anyone.
When we use our power to afflict others and change the future . . . is pure evil.
If we're still talking about Jesus here... I think that quote: "I can of my own self do nothing!" applies.
When Jesus blessed, he could do so because God was blessing. What Jesus cursed, he had to curse as a sign of what God was bringing about. If that fig tree story was true (and not just symbolic) it was a sign of what was going to happen to the bulk of the nation if/when they didn't bring forth the sort of results God had intended them for. For anyone at all inclined to follow Jesus' way (a shift away from exclusive, nationalist & priestly interpretations of what "God's Kingdom" would mean, of who would be included, of how it would be brought about, plus a radical reinterpretation of what was Torah vs what was merely "the teachings of men," plus a call for each person to seek intimacy with God-- all these seem to have been included in his program) such a sign might well have warned them away from the thinking/institutions/practices that eventually devastated the country. At least the tradition has it that church members in Jerusalem did leave the country before that became impossible...
Was God "angry at the Jews"? I'd say no, but there's this one saying of Jesus: "From anyone who's been given much, much will be expected." The Jewish scriptures were largely written by people who considered their nation particularly favored by God-- believing they'd been given a special revelation with special obligations and duties attached. The fact that they hadn't been sent a military Messiah on a big white horse, to subdue those pesky heathen Romans-- They'd once had the Maccabees, who turned out no better than any other nation's rulers, implying that this was really not the sort of deliverance to put their hopes in (any more than contemporary USians should have put our hopes in a brighter, more articulate President)-- just didn't stop people from wanting that kind of vindication, like escaping Pharaoh at the Red Sea all over again. Hoping for what God wanted to give them-- but in a form, and from methods, that couldn't possibly work-- they were galloping into a blind dead end, and Jesus did his best to tell them so.
Is there a message to modern human nations here? You remember the story of Nasrudin's prophecy to his neighbor?-- "If you don't get off that branch, or stop sawing on it, you're going to fall out of your tree pretty soon." You don't need supernatural powers for that sort of prophecy, just to be paying attention, not wallowing in denial!
& Quakers? Does God dislike Quakers? Expect more from us than we're collectively capable of? Is our Message something like "If you're really good people, nice to everyone so far as you know how, then the God you don't believe in will save you from the oncoming calamities you don't want to see coming"?
None of this suggests that God bears us any ill will whatsoever. But we are, like the Jews of Jesus' time, being challenged to wise up & change... or face the consequences of our ways. Presumably we too can turn to God (away from our habits and imaginings) and be quite literally saved...
I see the person "Jesus" serving as a symbol in someone else's vision. That vision was given to serve as a revelation to people-- but so are the dreams we're given each night.
What I think it's saying... is that God's intentions from the beginning, and the ultimate outcomes, are based on the sort of love and wisdom we understand Jesus to exemplify.
The turmoil we see in most of that book... suggests that getting human beings to recognize and accept God's love and wisdom is a really stressful and messy process. Human history is quite consistent with that.