Particles of the “PROPHETIC MINISTRY”part2.
Brethren , we have got more and more to talk about especially to the prophetic ministry and the life of a prophet but not all shall be given, we can only deliver what has been extracted for us to deliver, we shall be continuing in the next chapters of the articles “ in Particles of the Prophetic Ministry “ The Holy Spirit has a lot to offer to the body of Christ if we only we become humble before his eyes , and this affirms the scriptures in psalms 25;14, the Lord delights in those who fear and to such he reveals his covenant ; Brethren if we are to see the covenant of the Lord then we must yield ourselves to him in humility and with godly fear in which we shall be entrusted with the great treasures of heaven “
The true prophets of God are to bring life in church and their words are effective and filled with life of God so they are to breathe life into the dry bones in the valleys; their greatest work is to turn the dry bones unto the great Army of the Lord. “The call of a True Prophet”. The church is currently filled with dry bones and they have got no flesh in them. if it were not so, the modern church would be able to move forward by the life breathe prophets breath to them daily; but since the modern church is filled with counterfeit prophets, the church is rotten and the bones are being crushed for manure, the end won’t be good for the life of the church if true prophets do not come out and confront, unmask the false prophets in the modern church today.
The church today is retarded in discernment, wisdom and revelation, and to some imagine instead of becoming the great Army of God, they are becoming stumblers in the house of God, Christians have become parrots with the prophets. The prophets today are not breathing life into the dry bones but they are breathing mash unto the church and the people of God are drying every day, their words instead are like cancer eating up every coming true prophet, teacher, and other ministries have no life at all just like the dry bones in the valley during Ezekiel Ministry;
Prophets words should be filled with purposes of God and the life of God, what God wants to achieve in the dry bones, God is looking for dry bones to turn them unto his great Army but Christians today are not turned into the great of Army of God, simply Prophets are breathing sickness to the already bones. The counterfeit prophets are breathing life stories of the people to the body of Christ and instead of Promises of God and the life of God, people are clave unto the prophet’s life stories and mash prophecies. There is no food to the dry bones, no wonder they cannot have flesh in them, this flesh I mean the life of Jesus Christ in us.
We need to learn from the ministry of Ezekiel 37; 1-14;
When the people of God come to church, they are helpless with no hope, and no life in them. The work of the prophets and the prophetic ministry is to give hope and life to the helpless Christians through the word of God, filled with life and they are to know the purposes of God for their lives, just like God commanded Ezekiel in the valley, the house of Israel lacks breath of life even though these Christians are together worshiping; they lack the life of Jesus Christ operating in them, and have not yet turned unto great Army Jesus Christ is looking for; there is a need for a true Prophetic breathe;
What lacks in the church today is the true prophetic breathe to the dry bones, and therefore God needs more true Prophets in the church in order to have a great Army;
Why do we need prophets today? Do we not have the Scriptures which contain the whole counsel of God? Yes, the Bible is the complete, sufficient, inerrant, written Word of God, and it is the only foundation upon which we base Christian doctrine. But it was never intended to be the whole counsel of God. If it were, we would not need the Holy Spirit or any of the ministries that He has given to His church.
If we say that the Scriptures make spiritual gifts and prophetic ministries obsolete, we would have to also conclude that none of the other ministries are still necessary either. This is obviously not the case. The biblical ministries such as pastors, teachers, and prophets have different functions from the written Word, as do spiritual gifts. All are needed if we are to be thoroughly equipped. The gifts of the Holy Spirit do not replace the Bible, but neither does the Bible replace the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
The relationship between the written Word and the gift of prophecy is the same as it has always been. After repeating the entire Law to the nation of Israel, Moses gave this remarkable exhortation:
Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the LORD your God will set you high above all nations of the earth (Deuteronomy 28:1NKJV).
So under the Law, when seemingly every detail of the people’s relationships to the Lord and to one another had been mandated, they were nevertheless exhorted to obey the voice of the Lord. The proper relationship of Israel to the Lord required that they obey both His written Word and His voice.
Even with all the exhaustive commandments of the Law of Moses, the written Word did not cover every aspect of life or every major decision that would have to be made by God’s people. For example, there was nothing in the written Word that gave Joshua the instructions for taking Jericho. Joshua and the other leaders of Israel had to receive specific instructions from the Lord that simply were not covered in the written Word.
Likewise, Joshua’s mistake in relation to the Gibeonites did not happen just because he did not know the Law, but because he did not seek a special revelation of the Lord’s counsel in the matter (see Joshua 9). Such matters were not covered in the Law—Joshua needed to hear directly from the Lord. This same principle was clearly demonstrated in the example of the first-century church and is still a vital need of the church today.
What if the written Word did cover every aspect of life? Then it would not only be impractical because of its size, but there would be no place for developing a personal relationship with the Lord Himself, which is the essence of true Christianity.
The church is called to be the bride of Christ. How would any bride feel if on her wedding day her husband handed her a book and said, “Darling, I wrote this for you so that I would never have to speak to you again.” What kind of relationship would that be? The quality of any relationship is dependent on the quality of the communication. Because the Lord Himself affirmed that His sheep know His voice (see John 10:4), every Christian should know the voice of the Lord. This does not in any way belittle the place of the Scriptures in our lives. They are alone Administrators, we will not receive a pastor’s reward. If we receive an apostle as just a teacher, all we will get is teaching instead of the full benefit of the apostolic ministry.
Jesus Is THE Prophet;
Receiving any ministry in the name of that ministry is essential if we are to receive the fullness of Christ into our midst. Each of these ministries is a vessel for the Lord Jesus to manifest Himself to His church and equip her for the service to which she has been called. We should not recognize people as teachers just because they have the ability to expound the Scriptures eloquently and accurately, but only when we see our Teacher, Jesus, in them. We should not receive people as pastors just because they have seminary degrees or even because of their ability to lead and care for people; we should only recognize those as pastors in whom we see our Shepherd.
When the Lord lamented over Jerusalem, He declared, “For I say to you, from now on you shall not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’” (Matthew 23:39). If we cannot see Him in those whom He sends, we will not see Him at all. If the Lord sends us a teacher whom we reject, we are rejecting the Teacher Himself. If we reject a prophet that He has sent to us, we are rejecting the Lord’s own prophetic ministry. But if we receive those whom He sends, we are receiving Him.
Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me” (see Matthew 25:40). When we reject any one of the ministries the Lord has established, we are rejecting that whole aspect of Him. The real question is not whether or not there are prophets today, but whether we are open to receiving from them.
The great test before the Laodicean church was to hear the Lord knocking. Since Laodicea was the last of the churches which the Lord addressed, it is a prophecy to the last-day church in particular. The greatest test of the church today is to hear the Lord knocking so that we can open to let Him in. It is noteworthy that He said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears My voice and opens” (see Revelation 3:20). Many are hearing His knock, but only those who hear His voice will open to Him.
When he puts forth all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.
And a stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers (John 10:4-5).
The essence of the prophetic ministry is to know the voice of the Lord and to equip the church to know His voice so that His sheep can follow Him.
He Still Comes in a “Different Form”
After Jesus’ resurrection, even His closest disciples had trouble recognizing Him because “He appeared in a different form” (see Mark 16:12). This was done purposely, so that His disciples could no longer depend on His physical appearance to recognize Him. How often do we also miss Him when He tries to draw close to us because He comes “in a different form?” If we are to receive Jesus, we cannot be dependent on “forms” for recognizing Him; we must know Him after the Spirit, not externals. We must know His voice.
One of the chief issues for the last-day church is to hear Him knocking and hear His voice. He is coming to us again with apostles and prophets, but we must understand that they will all be different. Every prophet in Scripture is different from the other ones. All of the apostles were very different from each other, and their ministries were also different.
Since the Lord makes every snowflake different, He obviously delights in diversity; His whole creation reflects the fact that the Creator is the ultimate creativity. Since this is so obviously true, why is the church so boringly uniform? There have been very few institutions which have stifled creativity more than the institution of the church. This reflects just how radical our departure has been from the true Spirit and nature of the Lord.
In Scripture, water is often symbolic of the Word (see Ephesians 5:26). Metaphors are used in Scripture because the characteristics they have are consistent with the characteristics of that which they portray. Like water, the living Word must continue to flow if it is to stay pure. For this reason, the Lord continues to come to us in different “forms.” If we are recognizing Him after the Spirit and not just the form, He will continually be fresh to us. Adopting this perspective will deliver us from the tragic, historical compulsion of spiritual movements to settle into a certain form and then stop flowing.
Jesus is coming back for a bride “having no spot or wrinkle” (see Ephesians 5:27). That she is without spot speaks of her purity; that she is without wrinkle speaks of her ability to stay youthful. She is able to do this because the Lord keeps the relationship fresh and exciting—He is new every morning.
When the Lord comes to us in a different form from what we have previously known, it works to keep us fresh in spirit. This combats our tendency to become rigid and inflexible, the nature of wineskins which can no longer receive new wine (see Luke 5:37-39). Because prophets often seem to be cast from a different mold than the rest of the church, they are able to serve as a primary vehicle to help the church maintain this openness to the Spirit.
The natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit (see I Corinthians 2:14). One of my friends says, “The Lord often offends the minds so that He can reveal the hearts.” Saul of Tarsus is one of the great biblical examples of a religious man who tried to live by his natural mind. Saul had to be struck blind in the natural so that he could see in the Spirit. Though this may not happen to us as quickly and dramatically as it did to the great apostle, it is a process that we must all go through.
The Ultimate Goal of Prophetic Ministry:
The Lord’s ultimate goal through the New Testament prophetic ministry is not just to give the church prophecies, but to bring the church to the place where we “can all prophesy” (see I Corinthians 14:31). The prophets, like the other equipping gift ministries, are not given just to perform their own ministry, but “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service” (Ephesians 4:12).
The New Testament prophet’s primary function is to open the church to the ministry of Jesus the Prophet so that He can flow freely among His people. Everyone is not called to the office of a prophet, but the whole church, as a unit, is called to be a prophet to the world, manifesting Christ’s ministry as the spokesman for God.
When Israel was told to partake of the Passover, they were told that they had to eat the entire lamb and “not leave any of it” (see Exodus 12:9-10). We must receive all of Jesus if we are to receive Him at all. As Paul instructed the Corinthians, “Even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you, so that you are not lacking in any gift” (see I Corinthians 1:6- 7). The true testimony of Christ is confirmed in the church when He is able to freely move in any way He chooses. This is profound evidence that He has found a place to lay His head—a place where He is the Head.
We must understand that ministries seldom come in the packages we would expect. The Lord chooses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise (see I Corinthians 1:27). He chose Paul, the Pharisee of Pharisees, to be the apostle of grace.
“Prophet’s reward” (see Matthew 10:41) or the benefit of prophetic ministry. If we receive a prophet as just a teacher, that is all we are going to get—teaching. If we receive a prophet in the name of a prophet, we will get the reward of the prophetic ministry, which clearly we must have if we are going to grow up in all aspects into Christ.
This principle applies to all the other gifts and ministries given to the church as well. If we do not receive pastors with the true authority of their position, but rather see them as mere pastors given for the establishing of the doctrine of the church, but they were never given to supplant a personal relationship with the Lord.
In John 16:7, Jesus told His disciples, “…it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper shall not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” Again, the Lord did not say it was to their advantage that He was going away because He was going to give them a Book! Thank the Lord for the Bible, as it will always be one of the greatest gifts that He has given to His people, but He did not say that His sheep know His Book. It is the Holy Spirit who convicts the world of sin, reveals Jesus, and leads us into all truth.
Without the Holy Spirit, “the letter kills” (see II Corinthians 3:6). But together with the Holy Spirit, the Bible is one of the most powerful tools we have been given. It is essential for maintaining sound doctrine. Jesus said, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God” (Matthew 22:29 NIV). We will fall into error if we do not know both God’s written Word and His power. We have been given both because we needboth.
Jesus is the Word of God personified, and those who love Him cannot help but love the written Word and esteem it as the priceless treasure that it is. We must be able to hear the Lord’s voice when He speaks, but we must not go to the extreme of expecting to hear His voice for everything. Much of the counsel He expects us to get is already contained in His written Word.
Learning to deal with the tares is a part of the curriculum of the kingdom. Every time we must deal with a false prophet or a betrayer, our true discernment will grow dramatically. We must not waste these valuable trials by deciding not to play the game anymore, but rather we must let them make us even more resolute in our determination to find that which is true. Our ultimate victory is assured if we do not quit.
Many people, churches, and movements have entirely rejected the prophetic because they were wounded by false prophets or the mistakes of the immature. And many who have been called to prophetic ministry have rejected this call because of their own mistakes. However, the Scriptures clearly show that God almost never raises up a great leader who does not make serious mistakes. Some of the greatest leaders made some of the greatest mistakes, but they did not let that stop them.
If we do not give up, we will ultimately succeed. Those who allow their own mistakes to stop them are walking by faith in themselves, not God. Our mistakes will, and should, erode the confidence we have in ourselves, but we must not allow them to erode our faith in God.
True faith in God does not put confidence in the flesh (see Philippians 3:3). That is why God did not call Abraham the “father of faith” until he was seemingly too old to accomplish his destiny. He then made him wait many more years before the fulfillment came. If we are going to have the true, promised seed of God, we must be willing to be brought to the place where we know that it is impossible for us to do it. This is the essence of true faith—total dependency on God.
As we proceed in this study, we will examine the false and the true. We will look at the stumbling blocks and the stepping stones. It is important that we be able to recognize both. We must also realize that many of the things which have been stumbling blocks to us, such as our own mistakes, were meant to be steppingstones.
Over the years I have noticed that some of those who have made the greatest advances in prophetic ministry and gifts were the very ones who had previously made some of the most embarrassing mistakes. Their advances usually came right after a great mistake. In fact, their one common denominator was that they did not let the mistakes stop them. By humbling themselves and acknowledging the mistakes, they kept on going, trusting a little less in themselves but determined to trust even more in the Lord.
Is that not one of the great lessons of the Song of Solomon? When the love journey was over, the bride came up out of the wilderness “leaning on her beloved” (see Song of Solomon 8:5). When our journey is over, this will also be our posture with Him. It is for His sake that we must not quit.
The Source of True Spiritual Authority
In previous chapters we established why it is important for the church to receive the prophetic ministry. In this chapter we will address why it is important for prophets to properly relate to the church. We will also consider some common mistakes made by those called to walk in this difficult ministry. I know many of you who are reading this are asking when we are going to get to the interesting stuff, such as prophetic experiences and visitations. If we do not get the character and maturity issues right we will not be trusted with the good stuff. So we need to lay a strong foundation before we try to build upon it. Even so, we will discuss some of the “good stuff” as we go along.
Conflict and Rejection;
The prophetic ministry has a built-in factor that causes misunderstanding and rejection. This factor is the supernatural and often bizarre experiences which are common with this calling. To effectively walk in the prophetic ministry, one has to become comfortable with uncommon and extraordinary experiences. These may include angelic visitations, trances, being transported geographically in the Spirit, and being caught up into heavenly places.
All of these experiences are biblically established as “normal” for the prophetic. Even so, such experiences are very hard to understand for those who have not had them, and this often leads to doubt and rejection of the emerging prophet. There is a legitimate fear caused by the emergence of New Age and other cults who claim similar experiences but aredemonic.
As already stated, there would be no counterfeit money if there were not real money. There would be no counterfeit prophetic experiences if there were not also true ones. Even so, just as a counterfeit would never work if it were not very similar to the real, the same is true with these experiences. It takes a very trained eye to know a good counterfeit bill, and it sometimes takes a great deal of maturity and experience to distinguish the counterfeit prophetic experiences and gifts. We must acknowledge that the false exists and learn to discern it or we will be open to it.
One reason there is such an increase of demonic activity in the area of supernatural experiences is to confuse the church so that she will reject the real gifts and experiences which the Lord is restoring to her. Satan knows that these are essential to accomplish God’s purposes in this last hour, and he can be expected to do all he can to muddy these waters. The best way for us to help clear up the mess he is making is to find the pure source of the stream.
We have come to the time of the great power conflict of the ages. The power of the cults and the New Age movement is increasing dramatically, but the Lord has not left His people without power to face this evil onslaught. “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him” (see Isaiah 59:19 KJV). As the power of cults has been increasing, the power given to the church has been increasing even more. Cults have begun receiving supernatural revelation about Christian leaders in order to begin systematic attacks on them. However, the Lord has begun raising up prophets to discern the enemy’s schemes so the church can start ambushing him, turning his evil strategy into his own trap. The devil can outsmart any of us at any time, but he can never outsmart our Commander.
As we proceed toward the conclusion of this age, the conflict between light and darkness will become increasingly supernatural. The day when it was possible to take a neutral stance toward the supernatural is over. If we do not know the true power of God’s Spirit, we will become increasingly subject to the power of the evil one. Those whose fears or doctrines have led them to avoid even the Lord’s supernatural power will soon find themselves and their children easy prey for evil supernatural powers. The answer is not to try to avoid the supernatural, but to find the true.
Mankind was created to have fellowship with God. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him can only worship Him in Spirit and truth. Because we were created to have spiritual fellowship and worship, a void exists which draws us to the spiritual and the supernatural. If this is not fulfilled by the Spirit of Truth, who leads us to worship the Lord in Spirit and truth, we will be deceived by the spirit of error. As C.S. Lewis observed, if you deny a man food, he will gobble poison. If we deny people access to a proper supernatural relationship with God, they will succumb to the oppression and seductions of evil, supernatural power.
Few things will test the degree of our Christlikeness more than rejection. God allows rejection in our lives to help reveal and deliver us from our own evil motives. If we feel rejected when people ostracize us, it only reveals that we are not yet dead to this world. It is impossible for a dead man to feel rejection! Jesus, knowing that on the very next day His best friends were going to betray Him, deny Him, and flee from Him in His hour of need, earnestly desired to have one last meal with them! And then He even went out of His way to express His love for them and wash their feet! How many of us would be this selfless?
Rejection is an inevitable companion of true ministry, and it provides one of our greatest opportunities to operate in Jesus’ love. To be able to handle rejection without being offended is one of the great demonstrations of spiritual maturity, which is Christlikeness.
Motivated by Love;
Mature prophets can discern spirits; immature prophets are often fooled by them. Many who were called as true prophets of God have been seduced by the enemy because they refused the protection and covering of the rest of the body of Christ. Often this refusal to properly relate to the church stems from painful experiences in which the prophet was misunderstood or rejected by church leaders in the past. The Lord allows such misunderstandings because learning to deal correctly with rejection and authority is essential for anyone who is going to carry the awesome power and responsibility of supernatural revelation.
Discernment of spirits is a primary gift through which the prophetic ministry must function. It is fundamental that we first discern the source of spiritual revelation. But much of what is called “discernment” today is really nothing more than suspicion. This often has its root more in self- preservation or retaliation than in the love of Christ. True spiritual discernment is rooted in love, which Paul describes in I Corinthians 13:4-7:
Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,
does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Any motivation other than love will distort our discernment. This is why Paul prayed for the Philippians’ love to “abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment” (see Philippians 1:9). Love and true discernment cannot be separated.
God is love (see I John 4:8), and if we are going to speak for Him, we must also abide in His love. Sometimes His love is severe and brings discipline, but nevertheless it is love. Even God’s judgment is a manifestation of His love. We only have true spiritual authority over areas for which He has given us His love. Only when we are ministering from a foundation of His love will our discernment be true.
Romans 11:29 states, “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” The Lord is faithful even when we are unfaithful. When the Lord gives a gift, He will not take it back, even if we become unfaithful or misuse it. This is why those who have valid gifts of healing or miracles can fall into sin or corruption, but the gifts will still operate. The same is true of the gifts of prophecy, a word of wisdom, or a word of knowledge.
When God gives a gift, He does not take it back if we fall. This is why it is so important that we judge a ministry by the fruit rather than by impressive gifts of the Spirit. Those who move in the power and revelatory gifts, yet are affected by rejection or rebellion, can use the gifts of God to bring division and damage to the very work of God. This is a dynamic which may be hard to understand, but it stems from the faithfulness of the Lord.
Unhealed Spiritual Wounds;
Under the Old Covenant, priests were not allowed to minister if they had scabs, which were unhealed wounds (see Leviticus 21:20). When one had scabs, others could not touch him. The same is true of us; when we have unhealed spiritual wounds, others cannot get close to us, and we cannot function in our true priestly ministry. Most of us have witnessed those who preach, prophesy, or minister out of their own rejection, bitterness, or other unhealed wounds—it is a corruption of their ministry.
Paul explained to Timothy, “But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” (I Timothy 1:5). Paul also exhorted the Corinthians to “desire earnestly spiritual gifts” (see I Corinthians 14:1), but he never exhorted them to make gifts their goal. We need the gifts and the power of the Spirit. In fact, we need much more power than we are presently walking in. But we need them for the sake of ministering to hurting people, not just to establish our own ministries or to have big conferences. When we lose sight of the goal—which is love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith—we have lost our way.
All of the gifts of the Spirit operate by faith, and faith works through love (see Galatians 5:6). True faith is not just the confidence that God can do certain things, it is knowing that He wants to do them because He loves us. Although fear is the opposite of faith, it is conquered when we are filled with the love of God: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear” (see I John 4:18). Love casts out everything that hinders the move of God through us and to us. Love is the foundation upon which spiritual authority and the gifts of the Spirit operate. It is vain to seek the gifts until we have this foundation to build upon. The stronger the foundation, the more power that can be entrusted to us.
Understanding this, some have been fond of saying that they “do not seek the gifts, but the Giver.” Not only is this an overreaction, it is also contrary to the Scripture that exhorts us to “pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts” (see I Corinthians 14:1). Paul is saying here that love and desiring spiritual gifts are not mutually exclusive. We should pursue love and the fruit of the Spirit first, but this does not mean that we should not pursue the gifts, too. We should pursue both. If we have the true love of God, we will “desire earnestly” spiritual gifts so that we can do something with our love.
Most who are called to the prophetic ministry endure much rejection and misunderstanding so that they can learn to overcome such things. If we are to accomplish the purposes of God, we must come to the level of maturitywhere“the love of Christ controls us” (see 2Corinthians 5:14). Love does not take into account wrongs suffered and is not motivated by rejection, which drives us to retaliation or trying to prove ourselves.
Spiritual gifts which are not motivated by love are “a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal” (see I Corinthians 13:1). Gifts of the Spirit which are not grounded in love are usually noisy. These will come with fanfare and hype and are motivated by self-promotion. A noisy gong or clanging cymbal will also make the Lord’s trumpet call harder to hear. But a person who is controlled by the love of Christ will be consumed by the sole desire to see Him glorified.
True love is tolerant and patient. There is certainly a place for calling the church to maturity and obedience to Christ; indeed, this is a basic part of the calling of the prophet. But it must be done in love and not in impatience or intolerance. We need to occasionally look back at our own spiritual lives just five, ten, or fifteen years ago. Are we being impatient with those who are now at the same levels that we were then? In many cases they are probably further along than we were.
Much of the church is immature because it is supposed to be immature! A two-year-old child is supposed to be immature. A two-year-old may still need to wear diapers, and that is okay. However, if a fifteen-year-old is still having to wear them, we have a problem! I do not want my two-year-old to try and do the things a six-year-old can do. That will inevitably frustrate him, and it could also do serious damage to his soul if I expect such maturity from him before he is capable of it.
I want my children to be disciplined and mature for their present age levels, but I must not require more of them than that. We must have the same patience with those in the church. We must be discerning of their present spiritual level and call them to the proper discipline and maturity commensurate with it.
Ministries that are working for the equipping of the church must be careful not to put their own expectations on the church, but to seek the Lord for His expectations. Ministers who have not been healed of previous rejections often take their next assignment with a determination to prove their competency. This often causes them to put unrealistic pressures on both themselves and those to whom they are ministering, which only leads to more failures. This can be a vicious cycle, leaving not only a long line of wounded people, but also ministers who are either too bitter or too insecure to function in their callings.
When we know that we have received our commission from above and we are known by the Father, it really does not matter what people think of us. This realization brings a liberation that is utterly essential for any minister. We cannot function in true ministry if we are carrying any yoke other than the Lord’s. We must not allow ourselves to be controlled by human expectations or even our own expectations, but only by the Lord’s. He does not expect of us what He does not empower us to perform.
Stripes and Healing
Jesus experienced the greatest rejection the world has ever known, or will ever know. He was rejected by the world that He Himself had made. Coming in love, He healed and delivered the oppressed, and He never once committed a sin. Yet in return for all the good that He had done, He suffered the cruelest and humiliating death—and He suffered it for the very ones who killed Him. He turned the greatest evil and injustice the world had ever known into the opportunity to forgive and save the very ones who persecuted Him.
The Lord commands those who follow Him to do the same thing: We must take up our crosses every day, just as He did (see Luke 9:23). If we do, we have the power to overcome evil with good. Every evil that is done has a counterbalancing potential to be used for good. When we
turn evil into good, it delivers men from the evil that is in them. As ministers of the gospel, we are certain to be rejected—but we can turn each rejection into an opportunity to show the love of God.
It is by the Lord’s stripes that we are healed. In the very place where He was wounded, He received authority for healing. The same principle works for us. The Lord does not do the wounding, but He allows the enemy to do it for our sake and the sake of those we are called to serve. If we receive wounds as the blessing that He declares them to be, they become sources of authority for healing others who are wounded.
In this way, one who has been subject to child abuse will have compassion for others who are suffering abuse. Compassion is the foundation of all true spiritual authority. When Jesus felt compassion for the sheep without a shepherd, He became their Shepherd. Many of those with the greatest healing ministries in history have endured painful physical maladies themselves or were touched by the suffering of those close to them.
We must see that every trial which comes our way is for the purpose of causing us to grow in spiritual authority. Every test is for the purpose of promotion. That is why the Apostle Paul defended his own authority by pointing to the beatings, stonings, and great trials that he had endured for the sake of the gospel (see II Corinthians 11:23-33). Do not waste your trials!
Mercy and Judgment
The essence of all that God is doing on the earth is found in redemption. He is turning all that the enemy meant for evil into a great and ultimate good. However, some people reject the love and mercy of the Lord to the degree that they become incorrigible, which means they are beyond help. This happened to Judas. At this point, God’s mercy is replaced with judgment. But we must understand that “mercy triumphs over judgment” (see James2:13).
The Lord’s patience with people greatly exceeds what we are usually willing to endure before pronouncing judgment. Just as most parents are more patient with their own children than they are with others, the Lord is usually far more patient with His children than we are. He sent His own Son to be tortured and killed for them because He loves them. If the Son of God could suffer such cruelty and injustice for their sakes, how much more should we be willing to suffer for the sake of extending His great salvation?
It is also true that at times we can be far more tolerant of evil than God is. This is what I call “unsanctified mercy.” It is showing mercy to those the Lord wants to put under judgment. Either extreme can cause us to misrepresent the Lord. Therefore, we must always remember that we only have true spiritual authority to the degree that the King Himself abides within us and we abide in Him. He is the One to whom all rule, authority, and power has been given. To walk in true spiritual authority is simply to abide in Him, to be sensitive to His leading, and to be careful not to presume with our own judgments.
Moses was unquestionably one of the wisest and most discerning men to ever walk the earth. Even so, he was disqualified from leading Israel into the Promised Land because he misused the rod of authority which had been given to him. The Lord told him to speak to the rock and bring forth water, but in his own anger he struck the rock (see Numbers 20:7-12). He represented God as being angry when He was not.
Anyone else could probably have gotten away with that, but because of the authority Moses carried and the close relationship he had with the Lord, he was held to a much higher level of responsibility. If we are going to walk in the higher realms of authority, we will be held to a higher level of accountability. The things that we could get away with in the Outer Court will get us killed in the Holy Place. Therefore, the more authority that is entrusted to us, the more dependent on Him we must be, and the less dependent on ourselves.
For the love of Christ controls we, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died;
And He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.
Therefore from now on we recognize no man according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer (II Corinthians 5:14-16).
This is our goal: to be controlled by the love of Christ, to no longer live for ourselves but for Him, to see all men with His eyes, to hear them with His ears, and to know them with His heart.
Counterfeit Spiritual Authority;
The counterfeit of true spiritual authority is what the Bible calls witchcraft. There are many forms of this evil, from the manipulation used in certain sales techniques to the black magic practiced by cults and demon worshipers. Those who are called to walk in spiritual authority are often tempted to succumb to this evil by engaging in manipulation, hype, and other forms of soul power. These practices can be the beginning of a fall into some of the most powerful forms of bondage and spiritual deception.
Because I have covered this in depth in my booklet titled Overcoming Witchcraft, we will only address the most basic issues of counterfeit authority here. However, everyone who walks in prophetic gifts and authority needs to understand why Jezebel was Elijah’s primary enemy and why witchcraft is one of the primary enemies of the prophetic.
Self-Promotion Leads to Divination;
The over-promotion of one’s gift is a sure sign that there are probably other destructive problems in a person’s ministry, even if the gift is real. A prophet who promotes himself will usually end up crossing the line between revelation and divination. Prophetic experiences are not necessarily an indication of one’s maturity or importance. Mature prophets seek an intimate relationship with the Lord, not influence with people.
We are exhorted to “desire earnestly spiritual gifts” (see I Corinthians 14:1), so it is clearly not wrong to seek spiritual experiences if we are doing so for the right reasons. However, if we are seeking such experiences out of selfish motives, we can open ourselves to receiving them from the wrong source.
This is not to conclude that our motives must be perfect before we can be used by God. Evidence that we are seeking spiritual gifts out of selfish motives will usually be found in one thing—striving. If one is truly called as a prophet, revelation will come without striving. An apple tree does not worry about how many apples it is going to produce each day; if it is a real apple tree, apples will come effortlessly.
The Lord warned (and I will continue to repeat), “He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him” (John 7:18). Nothing will more quickly destroy a prophetic ministry, or any other ministry, than self-seeking, self-promotion, or self-preservation.
This is why learning to deal with rejection is mandatory if we are to walk in a true ministry. Rejection is an opportunity to grow in grace and die a little more to ambition, pride, and other motives which will so quickly color our revelation. If we embrace rejection as the discipline of the Lord, we will grow in grace and love. If we rebel against this discipline, we will actually be in danger of falling into witchcraft.
Every bit of influence that we gain through self-promotion will someday become a snare to us. All of the money or other resources that we raise through self-promotion will actually become a stumbling block to our ability to walk in the ministry to which we have been called. Whatever is gained by striving and self-promotion will have to be sustained by the same. This will keep us from walking in the true authority God has for us. Manipulation and hype are deadly enemies not only to the prophetic ministry, but to any ministry. Those who understand true ministry and true spiritual authority will not want one bit of influence that God does not give to them.
True Authority or Witchcraft?
Those who receive their authority, recognition, or satisfaction from men will, like King Saul, end up in the witch’s house. Paul named witchcraft as one of the works of the flesh (see Galatians5:20 KJV), which is where it begins, but it will end up being demonic if we do not repent. That is why Samuel warned Saul that “rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft” (see I Samuel 15:23 KJV).
When one in spiritual authority rebels against the Holy Spirit, the void will be filled by the counterfeit spiritual authority of witchcraft. This may begin as simple reliance upon hype and soul power to manipulate those one seeks to control. Without repentance, it can end up in the most diabolical forms of presumption and rebellion, as we see in the life of King Saul. When Saul, at the end of his life, killed the true priests of the Lord and had a witch conduct a séance for him, it was but the natural conclusion of a life marked by character flaws and wrong choices.
Spiritual authority is a dangerous occupation. If we are wise, we will follow David’s example—not seeking a position of spiritual authority and not even taking one which is offered until we are certain that God has placed us in it. One of the most frequent phrases attributed to David was that he “inquired of the LORD” (see I Samuel 30:8). On the few occasions when David made a major decision without inquiring of the Lord, the consequences weredevastating.
Making major decisions that affect God’s people without even consulting Him must be one of the highest forms of presumption and pride. The higher a position of authority is, the more dangerous it is, and the more people who are affected by our decisions. True spiritual authority is not an honor to be sought; it is a burden to be carried. Those who seek authority usually do not know what they are asking.
Even though he lived a thousand years before the age of grace, David knew grace possibly as well as anyone who has lived in this age. Yet he made mistakes which cost thousands of lives. It was probably because Solomon had observed this in his father that the one thing he desired was wisdom to rule over God’s people (see I Kings 3). Anyone called to a position of leadership in the church must take this same posture of absolute dependence on God’s wisdom.
Even if we are not in a position of spiritual authority, presumption can kill us. And if we are in a position of authority, it can hurt many others as well. The gift of a word of knowledge may carry more excitement, but those who are called to walk in spiritual authority would do well to seek the gift of words of wisdom even more than words of knowledge.
Humility Is a Safety Net
Those who attain prominence before humility will fall. “‘God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble’” (see James 4:6). Therefore, if we have wisdom, we will seek humility before position. True authority is based upon the grace of God, and the more authority we walk in, the more grace we need. True spiritual authority is not position; it is grace. Counterfeit spiritual authority stands on its position instead of grace. The highest spiritual authority, Jesus, used His position to lay down His life. He commanded those who would come after Him to take up their crosses and do the same.
There is a simple factor that distinguishes false prophets from the genuine ones.
False prophets use their gifts and other people for their own ends, in order to build up their own influence or ministry. True prophets use their gifts in a self-sacrificing way, for the love of Christ and the sake of His people. Self-seeking, self-promotion, and self-preservation are the most destructive forces in ministry. Like King Saul, even if we have been anointed by God, we can nevertheless fall into witchcraft if these forces gain control of us.
Not only must those in leadership be wary of using witchcraft, they must also be aware that they will be the primary target of those who do. It is an enemy we must watch for, both from within and without; either way, it is extremely subtle. This form of sorcery is seldom what we call black magic, but it is usually a form of “white witchcraft.” This includes well-meaning people who have fallen to subtle forms of manipulation to gain influence, because they do not have the confidence to be straightforward.
One prominent form of white witchcraft in many “full gospel” streams is often referred to as “charismatic witchcraft.” This is not meant to reflect on the Charismatic movement, but rather on human charisma as the source of one’s influence. This possibly has done more damage to the Full Gospel movements than any other single factor.
Pseudo-spirituality attempts to gain influence or control by wearing a super-spiritual mask.
This is a source of many false prophecies, dreams, and visions that can ultimately destroy or neutralize a church, or else cause the leaders to overreact and despise prophecy altogether. The people using this form of witchcraft will almost always think that they have the mind of the Lord and that the leadership is in rebellion.
The Eyes Must Be Single;
In Isaiah 29:10, the prophets are called the “eyes.” This is the function of prophets—to be the eyes of the body of Christ. They are to provide vision so the church may go forward without stumbling, staying on the path that she has been called to walk. While it may be possible for a blind person to stay on the path, the journey will, at best, be much more difficult and dangerous, not to mention slow.
Many blind people have done a remarkable job of adjusting to their blindness. They learn to trust their other senses more and often live very productive lives. However, you probably could not find a blind person anywhere in the world who would not prefer to have his sight. Likewise, many churches have adjusted to not having the prophetic ministry operating and are still quite productive. Even so, how much more productive would they be if they had the benefit of a functioning prophetic ministry? How much less would they trip over unforeseen obstacles or get blindsided by the enemy? With how much more resolve and speed could they move along their appointed course? Without question, being able to see makes almost everything we do much easier.
Groping and Stumbling
Until the prophets have taken their rightful place in the ministry, the church will continue to grope, stumble, and be subject to unnecessary difficulties and dangers. As the Lord said in Luke 11:34, “The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy wholebody also is full of light…”(KJV).
We should not settle for anything less than having the whole body full of light. We must also understand that this requires the eye to be “single” or in unity. Isaiah 52:8 foretells the coming prophetic unity: “Your watchmen shall lift up their voices, with their voices they shall sing together; for they shall see eye to eye [together] when the LORD brings back Zion” (NKJV).
It would be hard to walk if one of your eyes focused on one thing and the other eye focused on something else. Although the many prophetic voices of today are often in conflict with each other, we can trust Isaiah’s word that it will not always be this way.
The emerging prophetic ministry is maturing quickly, and it seems to be coming into unity much faster than the church at large. Prophets are gathering in various places and learning to walk together. This is encouraging, but the groundwork for single vision must be laid on an individual basis. We must each address the things which can blur or obscure our vision.
A Covenant with Our Eyes
First, if we are going to function as the eyes of the body, we must be careful how we use our own eyes. Job showed great wisdom in this: “I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin?” (Job 31:1) Job made a covenant with his eyes not to look upon something that would cause him to stumble. If our eyes are single, fixed upon the Lord, our whole body will be full of light.
We can let either light or darkness into our soul through our eyes. If we are going to function as eyes for the Lord’s body, we must give our eyes to Him to be used only for His Holy purposes. We must not let darkness into our soul through what we allow ourselves to look at. Lust is one of the primary destroyers of prophetic vision. Lust is selfishness in its basest form—the exact opposite of the nature of the Lord, whom we are seeking to emulate.
Paul said in Ephesians 1:18-19:
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
And what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might.
To be prophetic, we must have the eyes of our hearts opened, not the eyes of our minds. The primary way this happens is when we focus upon the Lord, which means beholding His calling, not just our own, the glory of His inheritance, not just our inheritance, and the surpassing greatness of His power, not our own abilities. We will only have true prophetic vision to the degree that we are looking through His eyes.
The Eyes of Our Hearts
We must also see more clearly with the eyes of our hearts than we do with our physical eyes. What we see in the spiritual realm must be more real to us than what we see in the natural realm. Abraham was a prophet and a great example of one whose vision in his heart was more powerful than what he could see with his natural eyes. He left the greatest culture on earth because he was looking for the city that God was building. He saw into the future and lived by that vision just as if it were present reality. The Lord Jesus confirmed, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day; and he saw it and was glad” (John8:56).
Because Abraham had seen the day of the Lord and the resurrection, he did not balk at the Lord’s command to sacrifice his son Isaac. He knew that his son was a type of the coming Messiah and that like the Messiah, Isaac would be raised from the dead if necessary. This was confirmed in Hebrews 11:19: “He considered that God is able to raise men even from the dead; from which he also received him [Isaac] back as a type.” Abraham was not living for the temporary realm, but for eternity. This is the calling of all believers, but it is a particularly essential foundation for all who would be prophetic.
Remember the experience of Elisha’s servant when the entire heathen army was marching to get Elisha? The prophet was calm as he watched them come, but his servant was understandably disturbed! Seeing this, Elisha asked for his servant’s eyes to be opened, and when they were, he was able to see that the angelic host around them was much greater than the army coming to get them (see II Kings 6:15-19). If our spiritual eyes were opened, we would indeed see things very differently than we do now. This should be a fundamental goal not only of prophetic people, but all Christians. However, for the prophetic this vision is essential.
To be prophetic, we must live in a different realm. As the Apostle Paul spoke of being more “at home with the Lord” than he was in his body (see II Corinthians 5:8), we should be more at home in the spiritual realm than in the natural realm. One friend put it, “We are not called to be human beings who have occasional spiritual experiences, but we are called to be spiritual beings who have occasional human experiences.” There is a basic truth to this. We are called to be a new creation that is very different from that which is only born of the flesh.
As the eyes of our hearts are opened, we must learn to see people not just as they are, but as they are called to be. We cannot just see the church in her present state, but must see her as she is called to become. We must often see the things that are not as though they were (see Romans 4:17), and prophesy the reality of God’s future plan and purpose.
Growing in Spiritual Sensitivity;
When we are mature, the Lord does not have to lead us around by the hand—He is able to send us. He wants us to have His judgment and wisdom so that we make the same decisions He would make. For this reason, I do not require a word from the Lord for making every decision. In fact, to do this is more of a sign of immaturity than maturity. At the same time, we must always be sensitive to His voice and His supernatural gifts of the Spirit, such as words of wisdom and words of knowledge.
When I am flying over or passing through a city, I often pray in the Spirit for that city and ask the Lord for the interpretation. As the interpretation comes, I then know what the Spirit is praying for that city, and I am able to become of one mind with Him.
Tools, Not Toys;
The gifts of the Spirit are not toys; they are tools for building His church. The Holy Spirit is holy, and we must treat Him and His gifts with reverence. At the same time, we are commanded to “desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy” (see I Corinthians 14:1). In the days to come, we are going to need all of the spiritual wisdom, knowledge, and revelation possible to accomplish the Lord’s purposes—sometimes just to survive. Now is the time for us to mature in their use.
King David exhorted: “Let everyone who is godly pray to Thee in a time when Thou mayest be found; surely in a flood of great waters they shall not reach him” (see Psalm 32:6).
Now is the time for us to build our houses on the rock of both hearing and doing His words. We are foolish if we wait until the storm comes before we start building (see Matthew 7:24-27).
On the Day of Pentecost, Peter was compelled to quote a passage from Joel about the last days, in which increasing revelation was promised, as we have read previously:
“And it shall be in the last days,” God says, “That I will pour forth of My Spirit upon all mankind; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams” (Acts 2:17).
One of the surest signs of a true outpouring of the Holy Spirit is an increase in the number and intensity of prophecies, visions, and dreams. When the Lord pours out His Spirit, He increases His communication with us. Prophecies, visions, and dreams are ways in which God, who is Spirit, communicates with us who are flesh.
Why then, if the Lord is trying to tell us something, does He not just speak loudly and clearly enough for us to hear Him? Why does He give dreams and visions that are so hard to interpret? Basically, it is because our ways are not His ways (see Isaiah 55:8-9). He is not going to change to comply with our ways; we are going to have to change to comply with His ways if there is going to be communication between us.
In the language of the Spirit, a picture (i.e., a vision) really is worth a thousand words. The Lord is not only trying to reach our minds; He is trying to reach our hearts. He is not just trying to tell us what He is doing; He wants us to see why He is doing it. When His communication comes in dreams or visions which require interpretation, it keeps us seeking Him and dependent on Him.
Missing the Interpretation
Many who are growing in prophetic revelation have genuine visions or dreams but then arrive at faulty interpretations. This often leads to misunderstandings about what the Lord is saying and then to erroneous predictions.
The New Testament prophet Agabus is a good example of how one who is a mature and respected prophet can err because of a wrong assumption in his interpretation. Taking Paul’s belt, he bound his own hands and feet and testified, “In this way the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles” (see Acts 21:11).
Although Agabus was generally correct about this prophetic warning, things did not unfold exactly as he predicted. Paul was actually bound by the Gentiles who had delivered him from the Jews (see Acts 21:27-36). Agabus had likely seen that Paul was going to enrage the Jews and then had seen him bound and in the hands of the Gentiles. He made an assumption about how this was going to happen. It is unlikely that Paul sat in the Roman barracks fuming and calling Agabus a false prophet because he got a few of the details mixed up. Agabus had been right about the overall outcome, and Paul was likely very thankful for the warning concerning what he was about to go through.
We would all spare ourselves confusion, and sometimes serious problems, if we would learn to only share exactly what we are shown in visions and dreams and not add our own assumptions. Usually the Lord is trying to give a general revelation. There is often pressure to get more specific in order to verify a word or to prove our own ministry by making it more spectacular. This is presumption, and it will work to destroy the credibility of our ministry rather than to affirm it.
Those who have failed to yield themselves to the Lord but rely on self-promotion, self-sustenance, have gone to the way of Balaam and been shut by Barack.
We shall only see well if we see through Jesus’ eyes and have a full prophetic ministry. We all prophesy in part unless we look at the reflection of his eyes but when we reach maturity we shall see him as “really IS”.
Nevertheless, let’s keep watch, yet desire more to know the Living God through his Son: Christ Jesus by guidance of the Holy Spirit. I myself still in the way of learning and like you I need your Prayers so that I may get more for edification of the Body of Christ.
Let’s not sleep like the people who are in the darkness, but let’s keep as children of the Light knowing that the day of the Lord is at hand, those who are in the darkness it will catch them like a thief in the night. Yet I am not saying I know the day, but those whom He loves shall by no means the day catch them like a thief in the night because they are of the light and they will see the Light coming for the Glory of God.
As I receive from the Holy Spirit with all the particles, I will also share with you in all fullness, in love we shall have full goodness of the Lord. I therefore charge before the sight of God in Christ Jesus, that your life is hidden in God through Christ Jesus. Be not faint hearted instead wear the armor of Christ” the word of God, his blood and his Spirit” the great witnesses on earth for your safety.
Peace to you all and grace be multiplied to all the saints in the Church of God and to those who belong to prophetic awaken and breathe life unto the bones, do not see the death. I will be also laboring in Christ Jesus by the Grace of God, to me his Love is indeed unfailing.
I remain Asher Namanya the Soldier of the Lord Jesus Christ and am also running a race according to the will of God and I see that I do not labour in vain- and fail on the prize.
“God bless you all”