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Show me a man who chases after prophesy and I’ll show you a man who chases his own desires, like King Saul.
Show me a man of true repentance and obedience and I’ll show you a man after God’s heart, a priest, prophet, and king, like King David.
In the New Testament, we read how the Holy Spirit was poured out on ALL flesh. Both the unbelieving and the believing; the fortune seeking and the lovers of God. The works of the Book of Acts, Chapter 2 is actually the fulfillment of the Lord’s promise in Joel 2:28 “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy”, but many do not know it is also the answer to the prayer of Moses (Numbers 11:29).
“Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!”
Moses had just convened 70 elders to help him with the task of governing Israel. The Lord comes down from the cloud and imparts the Spirit, which then rested upon Moses alone, to the 70 chosen men who are present. But later, it becomes apparent that two men who were not present, also began to prophesy. Joshua, Moses’ most intimate advisor, asks Moses to condemn the men and make them stop prophesying. Moses instead issues this sincere desire from his heart, and the Lord answered him many years later.
When we discussed this as part of our school curriculum in the Encounter School of Ministry, one of our students made the keen observation that only 72 were chosen at the time because the Lord knew another 72 would be chosen by Christ himself to go out and do the very same thing, bringing into fulfillment the 144 which in Jewish tradition signifies the completion of something. In a sense, the Jews are correct, the time of the Old Testament prophets has ended, and a new era of prophets has risen with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit! Things are now as they were called in the beginning. The time of fulfillment has come!
Where have all the prophets gone?
If you’re looking for a prophet you needn’t look for a blazing ministry or a title to find one, you simply need to look for the sons and daughters of God who have allowed the Spirit to dwell within them.
“Would that you all were prophets.” The Apostle Paul echoes these very same words of Moses when he tells the Church at Corinth “I wish that you all would speak in tongues but I would rather have you prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater…” Why?
Because, what comes out of a man’s mouth comes from his heart. Prophets are the mouthpiece of the Heart of God. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another,” Jesus reminds his disciples that to be a mouthpiece of the heart of the Father is to show the Father to the world, and who is God? God is love.
So why do some chase after the gifts, like we see Saul chasing after the prophet Samuel to know the will of God, rather than embrace the calling to be sons and daughters of God, like David did, and learning to know for ourselves the will of God and how to partner with it?
I’ve seen it over and over in many houses of worship, a call to establish the five-fold ministry the Apostle Paul mentions in his letter to the Ephesians looks more like a hall of fame for people with a knack for titles. One minute someone is a prophet, the next they’ve been promoted to Apostle, leaving a vacancy, and it would seem there’s only room enough in God’s church for one person in each title. This specific structure is not in any way biblical but lies primarily in man’s desire for identity and control.
A convert friend of mine recently shared with me how her experience growing up in the faith community she was born into caused her to believe more in the structure of the community than actually in God himself. It wasn’t until later in her adult years after she experienced how other faith communities come together that she realized the one she’d grown up in all her life was actually better at marketing the gifts of the spirit than they were actually living them out. It’s hard to tell if fruit is rotten if you’ve not ever seen other fruit.
Moses’ exchange with Joshua is still going on today. There are those in Church leadership who would like to silence the prophets who appear outside the structure. Moses’ desire that all would be prophets is wisdom revealing truth to the Church, even today. We cannot limit God to man-made structures. What might happen if the response of Church leaders was more like Moses? Perhaps my friend would have witnessed a faith community focused on building The Kingdom instead of building their own.
It is often true that wherever there is more respect for titles and structure than there is for Truth, there are many believing the lie that our inheritance is based on our performance more than our sonship. At the root is an orphan mentality.
The prophets Moses desired were not orphans but sons of God. They first accept fully their 3-fold ministry as priest, prophets, and kings, which Jesus Christ himself exampled. The 5-fold ministry the Apostle Paul outlined to the Church at Ephesus is a tool of the Church, given in the time of the Apostles after Jesus had died, for equipping the sons and daughters of God in their 3-fold ministry. It is a model inspired by the Holy Spirit, not a rule. Consequently, Paul’s outline of offices in the Book of Ephesians are not the totality of Gifts to the Church. Well-known Protestant Randy Clark and Catholic Theologian Dr. Mary Healy in their book The Spiritual Gifts Handbook, which they co-authored, cite over 40 different Gifts of the Holy Spirit and 10 offices. Isn’t it just like God to give his Church a 10-fold ministry! But without fully embracing the truth of the 3-fold ministry, the Church cannot move in power, there is no real equipping because the Spirit cannot fully bestow his gifts on orphans. Embracing our identity in Christ as first priests, prophets, and kings is essential to moving in the love and power of the Spiritual Gifts. This is why we spend the entire first quarter of our Encounter School of Ministry focused on understanding our identity and breaking lies, like performance mentality, which keep us from fully accepting our inheritance as sons and daughters of God. If the Church really wants to see revival then perhaps we ought to embrace all the folds and all the gifts! I believe we will see this begin to happen in the latter part of this decade, beginning in the Hebrew Year 5782.
Are you accepting God’s call to be his prophet? Or are you more like Simon the sorcerer, desiring only his power and gifts.
Those who are truly seeking the will of God will conform their heart to His. You’ll spend more time praying in the room of intimacy than the rooms of prophecy, healing and miracles. Not because you despise them, but rather, because you know that gifts can never replace intimacy.
The Apostle Paul wishes that all believers might prophesy not for our own encouragement but for the encouragement of the unbelieving. Believers gather to prophesy corporately. They gather to hear what the Spirit is saying to the Churches. Paul wished that all would prophesy so that when an unbeliever came among them they might be able to turn their heart toward salvation. Individual prophecy is more for the unbeliever than the believer. It is a tool of evangelism for the church. A gift to be used to proclaim the gospel and lead souls to eternal salvation in Jesus Christ. It is not for amusement and soothsaying. Believers ought to know the will of God for themselves, a prophet knows what God is saying. If this is not so, then they ought to spend more time in prayer and silent adoration before the Blessed Sacrament of the Father’s Heart than among Prophets.
Like the Apostles, the role of the Prophet is to build the kingdom. The two are inseparable in evangelizing the world to the Gospel. We need more evangelists, not more so-called believers who are acting like unbelievers in need of a “word” like one who seeks a Palm reader or lives on the “word” of horoscopes and demons.
Even the demons can prophesy. (See 1 Kings 22:22-23, 1 Samuel 18:10)
The believing heart must stay aligned to the desires of the Lord. In the Father’s heart lies the fulfillment of ALL desire.
One would be better off pursuing the Love of the Father’s heart in prayer than trying to proclaim the Gospel of his own desires in prophecy to others. A prophet like Moses desired is one who is always more sensitive to the Divine Will of the Father than to his own desires. Realizing, that the two can become one when pursued with the same heart.
The gifts of the Spirit are not tools of fortune; they are tools of salvation. God is not a Magic 8-ball. Neither should we get in the habit of using His gifts like a toy for our own amusement.
This is why Jesus warns believers against those who would make such error. Though they prophesy accurately and perform signs and wonders, miracles and deliverance in the name of Jesus, He knows them not. Because they chose works over His desires. They chose power over intimacy.
And what else did Jesus tell us, He never did anything without first seeing what the Father is doing. It’s not just enough to look and prophesy. You have to actually take the time to SEE what God is doing. There is a difference between looking into the Heavens and actually seeing the heart of God.
The Psalmist gives us great wisdom when he reveals “only the pure in heart can see God.”
Be not deceived, Dear One, the path to the Heart of God is marked by obedience and true repentance. It is a pathway which bears the fruits of true holiness. Because the desire of God is that we be holy, as He is holy. Anyone who demonstrates power in the gifts of God but lacks the fruits of the Spirit is not of the Spirit but is of his own flesh. In the Old Testament, false prophets were stoned to death immediately. In the New Testament, Jesus has chosen to exercise his mercy in these days, rather than stone them to death immediately, he chose to warn us of their existence and influence and admonish us to look at their fruit. They will have their stoning on the Last Day, and it will be to certain death. Until then, even the false prophets of this world have their hope of redemption, so long as they hear the word of God in the mouths of the true prophets.
Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-control. These are the real powers to be demonstrated.
What greater demonstration of Christ’s power can be seen in all his works than the display of all these fruits on the cross.
Be not deceived by signs and wonders. The only sign you need is the sign of Jonah. Christ demonstrated his power to us in his victory over death. It’s up to us now to pick up the cross and follow in His footsteps. Hear Him now, “Beloved, how will you demonstrate the power of My cross today to others?”
His “word” echoes throughout all creation to us now and will for all eternity. Believers, if you must hear another word of prophecy for yourself, let this be enough, “It is finished: Love one another, as I have loved you…now go, and make disciples.”