You need to understand something; prophecy is not something that must be feared unless you are the one in error. There are exceptions to everything and there is no denying that The Revelation (of Jesus), that John saw, is filled with some scary aspects. However, in most cases the prophetic word is meant to turn your life toward safety and hope. Now should the one in error not respond appropriately, then they are subject to the parameters that God pronounces.
God’s methods of operation at not dark secrets, and God declared his plans and intentions throughout his Word. Jesus the Messiah is that Word, and how did God handle his coming? He used prophets. Men that heard his voice and were brave enough to give it to the people.
Many are afraid of the prophet, while others have no respect for them. For me, the prophets Samuel and Elisha are two that would have given me some concern had they showed up at my door. Samuel hacked king Agag to pieces, while Elisha called bears down upon some young men that were mocking him.
Some, say prophets are no longer necessary and do not exist. I do not know how you ignore those that truly move in that realm. The problem for the believer is how do you sort out the quacks from someone who is real; more on that shortly.
I get emails and posts on Facebook with the new and fresh prophetic words. These words are brought by highly acclaimed, airbrushed, portfolio faces, which in many cases make their living speaking at prophetic conferences. I flat-out ignore most of them. Why would I do that? Because in the midst of obvious, impending chaos, they declare that God is bringing us into a time of roses to smell and fields of clover to roll in. If they were talking about heaven that might make sense, but it does not help me now, and if Heaven was the subject then their public word needs to be more focused.
Look around you; do really see good things coming? Neither do I, and yet when I tell people, that all these things are signs of His imminent coming for those that await him, they respond with, that’s impossible for not all the lost have heard the gospel, and people like you have said that for two thousand years. The responses only prove that most of the church has their head buried in the sand.
How do we define the true prophet?
Initially it can be difficult, for one of the things we have to look for is: do their words come true.
Deuteronomy 18:22 (AMP) When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or prove true, that is a word which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.
In the Old Testament, they were told to judge the prophets harshly if they were false. You could get yourself stoned to death, a less than glamorous ending.
Deuteronomy 18:20 (KJV) But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.
This, fortunately, is not what we see anymore. This should however have a tremendous influence on how you make your delivery. I know it concerns me. I try to steer away from the, “thus saith the Lord” statements. Besides that, he has never spoken to me in Elizabethan English. I have prefaced some of my statements with, I hear this in my spirit, or does this mean anything to you.
Strangely, Moses spoke to the people and said:
Deuteronomy 18:9-15 (AMP) When you come into the land which the Lord your God gives you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of these nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or daughter pass through the fire, or who uses divination, or is a soothsayer, or an augur, or a sorcerer, or a charmer, or a medium, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord, and it is because of these abominable practices that the Lord your God is driving them out before you. You shall be blameless [and absolutely true] to the Lord your God. For these nations whom you shall dispossess listen to soothsayers and diviners. But as for you, the Lord your God has not allowed you to do so. The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet (Prophet) from the midst of your brethren like me [Moses]; to him you shall listen.
Therefore, instead of Israel following after the abominations of the land, God was going to bring them prophets to guide them. We find these ruling the people in the days before they had to have a king like the other nations around them.
The prophets included:
Ahab saw Elijah as an enemy because Elijah always brought bad news.
Elisha was Elijah’s replacement, and operated under a greater anointing than his teacher Elijah.
Samuel was placed under the care teaching of the priest Eli. Unfortunately, Eli did not control his sons and Samuel had to call him down for it. Samuel went on to anoint two of Israel’s first kings.
Deborah the prophet fit her situation perfectly. She had the leadership skills a challenged Israel needed, and she had a remarkable relationship with God
There were many other prophets and some had a direct impact on the decisions of kings, while others warned the nation of its sin and consequences.
Many of the prophets, while not false (it would take years in some cases for the word to come to pass) were beaten, imprisoned and in some cases killed, primarily by religious leadership. It was not a highly desired job.
In looking for the definitions of a prophet, the first is found in the Old Testament.
Numbers 12:6-7 (KJV) And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house.
Even this passage gives an exception to Moses. I am not clear on the specific reasons why Moses was so different. Perhaps the burning bush and still small voice episode had something to do with that.
It was more common for God to talk with man through visions, most often while the recipient sleeps.
Take the time, on your own to look up these passages:
Genesis 15:1, Genesis 46:2; Job 33:15; Psalm 89:19;
What we read in Genesis 15 comes off as though this happened in living color, right before Abram’s eyes, but it was a dream; a very vivid dream. However, God treats this vision as reality. This vision is the covenant that God made with Abram/Abraham.
In the New Testament, we see John the Baptist acknowledged as a prophet. He preached a mean sermon on repentance, but the thing we see as significant was his recognition of Jesus, his cousin, as the Messiah.
Jesus, after withstanding the abuse of the Jewish leadership; referred to himself as a prophet, when he said, A prophet is not without honor, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. (Mark 6:4).
While John announced that Jesus was the Messiah. Jesus did everything. He healed, cleansed, spoke life over and into people, and by his word forgave their sins. This was scandalous and unheard of. It also got him killed. True, it was God’s plan and our redemption, but nonetheless dangerous work.
The Apostle Paul wrote about the gifts that God places in us on several occasions.
(Gr. charismata), gifts supernaturally bestowed
Many believe that this stuff was just for the early church and no longer necessary, therefore done away with. Hardly, see the following passage.
Romans 11:29 KJV For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
Repentance here is the Greek word ametameletos, and means irrevocable. They are here to stay.
One of our primary sources defining prophecy as an active method of the Spirit communicating with the church is Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church.
But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. (1 Corinthians 12:7-11 KJV)
I know what happens when most read this; they let ritual, tradition, and fear take over. They deny the very existence of these things, or even worse, attribute them to the devil. Attributing the things of God to the devil, is the thing that really got Jesus worked up. He told the Jewish religious leaders that they had crossed the line and were now blaspheming. Considering how many of us worry about whether we have blasphemed or not, you now have Jesus definition of it. Do not go there.
The context of the working gifts continues in I Corinthians 12, but there is no direct mandate for participating, not everybody does. Do not take this as an excuse to berate those that do.
The writer of Hebrews tells us:
God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders, and by manifold powers, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to his own will. (Hebrews 2:4 ASV)
The “them” here, is the church. If you have a relationship with Jesus Christ, then you are one of them. God is actively involved in reaffirming us by the gifts he bestowed upon us. Having spent some time in recovery and coming to realize just how frail we are, it makes all the sense in the world that he would want to keep us mentally sound. Because when you are mentally sound, you make better decisions.
I understand that prophecy is a valid and active New Testament gift, optimistically you do as well. Many continue to deny prophecy its place. I can tell you that most of our modern, civilized churches reject the gifts of the spirit. The only gift my church cares to hear about is service, and they will find a place for you as a door greeter or working in the parking lot. Maybe that is not so bad. Stephen made good use of his time and became a pillar of the early church.
Now the hard part; I imagine that you figured out that I have no issue with the gift of prophecy. I do have issues with people who make the church and myself, look like fools. The main reason that happens is that some think we have to be flamboyant or extreme.
Some, operating under the guise of prophecy, have spoken in tongues as if they are speaking to the entire church. There is no reason for that to happen and Paul explained why.
He that speaks in a tongue edifies himself; but he that prophesies edifies the church. Now I would have you all speak with tongues, but rather that ye should prophesy: and greater is he that prophesies than he that speaks with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying. But now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, unless I speak to you either by way of revelation, or of knowledge, or of prophesying, or of teaching? (1 Corinthians 14:4-6 ASV)
If I open my mouth and blaze away, anticipating that someone will interpret what I just babbled on about, then all I have done is scare people, caused confusion, and intentionally caused people to look at me.
Here is a good rule of thumb. Do not blaze an audience with your gift of tongues, unless you have an interpretation. Since you are skillful and have the interpretation, then treat it like a prophecy and speak in the language of choice for your audience.
Yes, God has spoken through me, but never about someone’s future.
It has typically been in random moments like a conversation, or when I am involved in a time of prayer with someone. Typically, I say something that seems completely out of left field. My hope at those moments is that this is making sense to the person I am talking to. They typically look at me and ask, how did you know that? My response oftentimes is, I know nothing. As I was talking, I heard it and repeated it to you. The impact is amazing, and I cannot tell you how many times it has brought me to tears, because not only the person is blessed but it speaks to me as well.
I might as well tell you that I am sure I was called to be a prophet. Do not ask me to explain that. My search for answers to this are an aspect of what I wrote on this blog.
Now what do I do with it? I can tell you that for about twenty-five years I ran from it. Oh, do not get me wrong. My two heroes are Elijah and Samuel, not because I need people to fear me (I am a huge man and that is already a problem) but because I want people to understand the mighty God I serve.
You have to understand that God never thought for a moment that he would be able to separate the man from mouth. Therefore, every word you deliver will carry an aspect of your personality embedded in it. Perhaps that is why God chose you and me. Perhaps that is why God chose John the Baptist. If anyone came off as a biker, it was him.
I said all that to say this, prophets have varied approaches. I have watched a fellow tear his life up and yet he is willing to respond immediately when God asks him to speak to someone. This puzzles me, and honestly, makes me jealous.
I, however, have lived in fear all my life, and had a mentor urge me to give out what God was speaking through me. Eventually I was giving words to the entire church body. I even had the worship leader and drummer wait for me on several occasions.
Why that all sounds so encouraging, much like living a fairy tale as things were going well. What you do not consider is that there is a learning curve to everything. I had the pastor admonish me by saying; can’t you give a word without crying? My mentor friend kept telling me that no one could hear me, so I had to focus on getting louder. (I can tell you I thought I was yelling.) Then there was my internal battle of the mind that struggled to keep me out of it. This is never about you. I never got comfortable.
After about six weeks, I did finally get loud. I remember the day. I thought I could hear the glass in the windows shaking. When I was done I wanted to hide under a rock, but there was none, just me, and everyone is looking at me. Now when you are by nature an introvert, this is not comfortable. I was met at the door the following week by the pastor. He told me that though there was nothing about what I said that could be contested by God’s word, several folks complained that I made God sound mad. I was told my career here was over and any further words for the body would be written and passed along to him for approval. There in lies the problem. The Holy Spirit would prompt me to speak and rarely give more than an opening word or two. Trust me, I had many internal arguments with Him over this. Effectively, I was done at that church.
I have not spoken openly to a body like that since. I wish I could describe the incredible growth and feeling I experienced during that time. I have no idea where that guy went at this point. I am so grieved at the destruction Satan used against me, and that believers helped him.
Just so you know, I have not shut my mouth, I am just much more low-key about what I do. My self-esteem was shattered. I was lied to by that pastor and made to jump through hoops that he had no intention of honoring.
I hear the Holy Spirit speak to me about the world around me, and he encourages me to pray for people as well as speak words of encouragement to them. Recovery has helped to fill some of those passions for me.
If you have read some of my writings, then you know that I am a prophecy nut, I guess I have always been, but like most, I could not make heads or tails out of any of it. I also see things in my spirit and it does not look pretty, but I struggled at times to define what I see, and that bothers me. I question, if I could spell things out with clarity, would people flock to me, and my head swell, probably. Maybe this is how God keeps me in check.
I have a brother that also hears from the Lord. Recently he came by the house. As we talked, he wrote on a pad and pushed it toward me. Here is what the pad had on it.
War and crime increase. ↓
Religion blamed for all turmoil.↓
God purges religious leaders.↓
Government dissolves churches.↓
Three and one half years of peace.
Three and one half years of intense tribulation.
If someone handed you this, what would you do with it? I will tell what I do; I attempt to confirm it against several known things. (The Word of God being primary.)
What do I know? I know that: the time of God’s wrath lasts seven years; that the antichrist character makes a treaty with Israel at the beginning of this time period we like to call the tribulation; He breaks that same treaty and another character unleashes all his fury upon Israel and the world. That is the easy part and anyone could point this out to me. If that was the case, I might just give them the grace and say thanks for sharing that with me.
Now it gets harder, but I have an advantage, God has already shown me these things in my spirit. Therefore, confirmation of the spirit is a second test. I can also use common sense. However, there is more to the prophetic word than what I can see on the televised news. Just look around and ask yourself, is war and crime increasing, absolutely.
This is tougher, “Religion blamed for all turmoil.” I cannot say that I am seeing that yet. However, what is going on in the world? Islam, the religion of peace, is ramping up the violence on an exponential scale. What is the governmental response, these are isolated incidents. The other end of this scale is America’s homeland security declaring that outspoken conservatives, military veterans, and people who have strong biblical opinions are now deemed high security risks. We are only days away from them coming after church going folk.
What do I do with this part – “God purges religious leaders.”
I did a Google search and this is what I find.
- An article dated April 13, 2014 reminded me of a former Calvary Chapel pastor Bob Coy. (I loved listening to this guy.) He apparently got involved with a woman who was not his wife, and admitted that he struggled with pornography.
- Ted Haggard (evangelical Christian) New Life Church in Colorado Springs. Ted Haggard was Head of the National Association of Evangelicals from 2003 -2006 and senior Pastor for the New Life Church. Haggard it appears was clear about his position on many issues of morality including homosexuality declaring “we don’t have to debate about what we should think about homosexual activity. It’s written in the bible.” In Nov 2006 he was leading a charge to ban gay marriage in Colorado when the gay prostitute he had been seeing for the previous 3 years stepped forward apparently having just become aware of who his client was and being appalled by his hypocrisy. Initially Haggard denied all allegations against him including taking methamphetamine until the evidence was overwhelming. At this point, he resigned all his positions of power and agreed to undergo counseling for his sexually ‘deviant’ behavior. https://listdom.wordpress.com/2009/10/07/10-religious-leaders-fall-grace/
- ZENTATSU RICHARD BAKER (Buddhist) of the San Francisco Zen Center (SFZC), had affairs with his students.
- Warren Jeffs born in 1955 and former president of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints based in Utah. Jeffs followed the FLDS tenet of ‘Celestial Marriage’ and taught that a church member needed at least 3 wives to get into heaven and that the more a man had the closer he was to heaven. It is claimed that Jeffs had around 70 wives some of which were as young as 12 when they married. In addition, Jeffs was the only person in the church allowed to perform the marriage ceremony and was responsible for assigning wives to husbands plus he had the authority to reassign wives and children to other families if the men did not fully conform to the church beliefs. In 2006-7 he was charged with allegedly arranging marriages with adult men and underage girls and 8 additional counts of sexual misconduct with minors. He was found guilty of 2 counts of rape as an accomplice and was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. Jeffs’ later admitted to committing immoral actions with a sister and a daughter. In 2007, he resigned as leader of the church and confessed to his followers that he in fact was not the chosen prophet. https://listdom.wordpress.com/2009/10/07/10-religious-leaders-fall-grace/
- Jimmy Swagart, an Assemblies of God preacher was busted twice with prostitutes. He is back on television.
There were much more than these. I do not point them out to berate them but show you that perhaps God is purging our churches. This, by the way, only proves that they are human and have flaws. Preaching false messages and leading people to turn away from God is the bad thing.
The statement on my brothers list states, that the government will dissolve churches. It does not take much imagination to see that coming, although I do not know if something like this is not on our presidents’ list of orders to sign.
The last two lines are straight out of the bible and easy to say. Even the History channel did a high impact version of the aftermath of the rapture. Those that watched it said that it could easily motivate people to find the Lord so that they could escape all that turmoil.
What I know is that as believers, Christ, and the Apostle Paul, tell us that we are not destined for wrath. That term is specific to the seven-year period after the rapture, but Jesus said, in this world you will have tribulation. Many, depending on where you live, are experiencing that now. The one thing that is positive in all this is that we can have a hope in spending eternity with Christ, in peace.