Monday, July 28, 2014

Prophetic Speaking and Backing Part 2

The best things in Life are simple
It is poplar in today’s television culture to do shows on supernatural themes.  One such show  is Sleepy Hollow.  It is a show which mixes the fictional story of Washington Irving’s Sleepy Hollow with oddly the book of Revelation and two figures in the book known as witnesses.  If anyone has paid attention to any of the shows or movies dealing with such themes they would know that Hollywood deliberately magnifies witchcraft to any exalted state above the word of God represented by someone in the church.  It is one of the ways demonic spirits who undoubtedly operate in concert with these shows let it be known that they have little to no regard for the church today.  In their world supernatural bad is always prevailing over simpleton church folks who are more often than not characterized as impotent and  intolerant or mean spirited bigots.  Also, in these shows as with Sleepy Hollow they are always trying to prevent the forces of evil such as Moloch in Sleepy Hollow from taking over the world.  However, contrary to all these Hollywood shows Satan is not trying to bring on the apocalypse as it would not serve his interest.  He like his human cohorts are vested in the continuation of this age in order to prevent his demise and the end to their rule and reign.
What is also noticeable in these shows is that in the use of witchcraft, the witches always have to use a big book of spells and do all sorts of incantations to achieve whatever they are desiring.  This is in contrast to prophetic speaking.  The last article looked at Moses and his prophetic speaking and now I will look at Elijah.  Elijah has always been a most mysterious character to me because he seems to come out of nowhere, but when he does come he comes at time when Israel is in spiritual apostasy-that is they have a king over them who is idolatrous to his core and they are serving Baal.  The king that has led Israel in their idolatry is Ahab and his wife Jezebel and times for the prophets of Israel are particularly hard, but where I will pick up the story is Elijah’s confrontation of the people of Israel and his challenge to the prophets of Baal.  Once again I will summarize the major happenings and highlight the pertinent verse.
 As stated before, Israel under the leadership of another awful king and his odious wife is serving Baal much as would be expected to God’s displeasure.  In his first example of prophetic speaking where he declared, “As the Lord God of Israel lives before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years except at my word, “ (I Kings 17:1) Elijah is now back before King Ahab into a third year drought.  He tells Ahab to gather all of Israel on Mount Carmel along with the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah who eat at Jezebel’s table. (I Kings 18: 18,19).  He then asks an obviously schizophrenic Israel, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, then follow him.” (vs.21)  Elijah next lays down the challenge to the many prophets of Baal regarding calling upon their god and he upon God to consume a bull by fire. 
One would think that if you have 850 prophets calling upon a deity, that would get his attention, but this did not happen for the prophets of Baal.  Like the witches in Hollywood shows they went through all sorts of gyrations until at one point they were cutting themselves with knives and lances, until the blood gushed out on them. (vs. 28).  Except unlike the exalted witches in Hollywood their demons did not show up to validate their claims.  On the other hand, Elijah stood patiently by from morning to noon one against the many even throwing in a taunt or two waiting for Baal to make an appearance.  Nada.  Then to make the situation even more challenging for himself, Elijah not only cut up the bull on the altar of the Lord, but he drenched it with four waterpots including the wood.  When show time came, Elijah prayed, “Hear me, O Lord hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.”  (vs. 33, 37).  Without hesitation the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, wood, stone, dust and it licked up the water that was in the trench. (vs.38). 
The difference between prophetic speaking and the kind associated with witches and demons is that the prophetic person or people do not need to take extra measures to get God to answer if He has sent you.  It may appear that you need to do more or that it is too simple just to speak, but what you witness with people who are aligned with the kingdom of darkness is the fallen state of sweat by the brow.  They must toil to get what they want out of the demonic world, whereas in God’s kingdom the spoken word is enough just as it was with creation.   Moses was not allowed to go over into the promised land because he forgot this principle.
  In a typical case of Israel’s rebellion, the people grumbled about being thirsty in the desert of Zin and God spoke to Moses and Aaron and told him to speak to the rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water.  (Numbers 20:7).  But Moses instead struck the rock twice with his staff but before doing that he exclaimed to the people, “ Listen you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock.” (vs. 11)  Here is where Moses problem begin.  First, there is no “we”.  There is the Lord.  At this point Moses went from acting on behalf of the Lord to acting on behalf of himself and substituted the arm of the flesh for the spirit.  God equated this with a lack of trust in him and honoring of him as holy in the sight of the Israelites. 
Moses’ act was akin to appropriating the glory of the Lord for himself and if God is one thing he is jealous for his name and his glory.  It is no doubt for even a man such as Moses tempting to want to share the limelight of the Lord, but in keeping with the theme of prophetic significance,  one’s call in the Lord is never about the aggrandizement of the individual.  It is however with Hollywood witches and followers of Lucifer.  They generally have no purpose except the exaltation of themselves.
Thus, what is observed from Elijah and Moses is that God places a premium on following directions something very hard for people to do.  He doesn’t need fleshly embellishments of men to fulfill his word.  He only needs for his directions to be followed with nothing of the wisdom of men to be added.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Prophetic Speaking and Backing


And God said, "Let there be light"
Part 1
When someone’s destiny is one of prophetic significance there necessarily accompanies it prophetic speaking and backing.   Prophetic speaking is rooted in the foundations of creation and is first witnessed in the book of Genesis when God first said “Let there be light.” (Genesis 1:3).  From this very first verse we see God speaking the creation into existence.  This foundation is additionally supported by the gospel of John 1:1 where it states, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. “  Creation in all its mystery is literally held together by Word of God.  This speaking can be observed in the book of the prophets, but I will once again highlight Moses, Jesus and will add Elijah. 
When God called Moses to return to Egypt to deliver the Hebrew people, he did not send him with the lasted weaponry of that day or with an army of men.  He sent him armed with his 83 year old brother Aaron, a rod but most importantly with these instructions “See I have made you as God to Pharaoh and Aaron your brother shall be your prophet.   You shall speak all that I command you and your brother shall speak to Pharaoh that he must send the children of Israel out of the land.” (Exodus 7:1,2).  It is interesting, but initially it was to be Moses who would do the speaking, but he for lack of a better word did not seem to have the confidence to do the speaking so God compromised and allowed Aaron to do it.  As an attentive bible student would know Moses and Aaron went on to perform all the miracles God commanded them, but in each case it was spoken first to Pharaoh what God would do.   Thus, it is important to note that any time God sends someone of prophetic significance,  he backs the speaking of that person with his power which in the case of Moses exceeded the power of all the magicians and the operating demons behind them of Pharaoh’s court .  At one point the magicians were keeping up until the third plague of gnats or lice and then by their owns words they bemoaned to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.”  So even Pharaoh’s magicians knew that in the realm of the supernatural they were dealing with the Michael Jordan of their game.   Last minute game winning shots were coming from everywhere.
There is another incidence in the story of Moses that illustrates God backing the speaking of his prophet.  It is the story of the rebellion of Korah, Dathan and Abiram in Numbers 16:1-40.  The story is too long to detail here, but it is one as old as men have been upon the earth and I will do a brief summary of it.  Korah, Dathan Abiram and some other men decided one day that Moses and Aaron were doing too much and (my interpretation) were the focal point of attention so it states in verse 3 “They gathered together against Moses and Aaron and said to them, “You take too much upon yourselves, for all the congregation is holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them.  Why then do you exalt yourselves above the congregation of the Lord?”. “So when Moses heard it he fell on his face.” (vs. 4).  Why did Moses fall on his face?  I believe it is because Moses knew enough about his dealing with God to know this was a disaster in the making.   For all the miracles that these people had witnessed, they still did not understand the concept of separation and calling.   Now if all the congregation was holy, then all the congregation would have done their own miracles and led themselves out of Egypt.  Moses went on to give instructions on what to do to determine who God had chosen and who was holy and who could come near to Him. 
 When Korah gathered all the congregation against them (that is Moses and Aaron) at the door of the tabernacle of meeting, the glory of the Lord appeared to all the congregation. (vs.19) .  “And the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron saying, “Separate yourselves  from among the congregation that I may consume them in a moment.” (vs. 20-21).  Thoughtfully, Moses asked that the Lord not punish everyone for the sins of one man and God had them separate from Korah, Dathan and Abiram.   The statement of relevance is this, “By this you shall know that the Lord has sent me to do all these works, for I have not done them of my own will.  If these men die naturally like all men, or if they are visited by the common fate of all men, then the Lord has not sent me, but if the Lord creates a new thing and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the pit, then you will understand that these men have rejected the Lord.”  Then it came to pass as he finished speaking all these words, that the ground split apart under them and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the men with Korah, with all their goods. (vs. 28-32).   What is striking about the last verse is that God did not tell Moses what to say, he just backed what Moses said.  So at some point Moses thought about something as fantastical as the earth opening and swallowing the men, spoke it and God did not consider it too extreme to perform. 
      Therefore, what can be learned is that when God calls and sends someone with a prophetically significant task, he grants them his authority and power to perform the task he has given.   Korah, Dathan and Abiram would have done well to realize that it is God who calls and the person who is called is not necessarily perfect or any more worthy than another, but it is God’s choice to call and back who he will.  I will pick up with Elijah and Jesus in the next post.  This concludes part 1.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Prophetic Sacrifice

Prophetic Sacrifice
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters in view of God’s mercy
To offer your bodies as a living sacrifice.
           
There is a running theme throughout the bible of sacrifice.   The most obvious types of sacrifices are found in the old testament with regards to the Hebrews when they take possession of the land of Canaan.  These sacrifices and offerings of various types involving animals and grain are detailed in the book of Leviticus and set forth the protocol of worship of the Lord.  The sacrifices are also, indicative of when one has a call of prophetic significance there is a sacrifice of a kind which differentiates it from that of the world.   The Israelites spent many years in Egypt and would have been familiar with the religious system of the Egyptians, but once they were delivered from their bondage the Lord makes a distinction between his requirements for sacrifices and that of the Egyptians.  To be a peculiar people and a priesthood nation, the Israelites would have to go against what was arguably the greatest spiritual wisdom of their day and would have to endeavor to be distinctive from the other nations who surrounded them so that their sacrifice was to leave the ways and mindset of the popular opinions of their day.   The apostle Paul expresses it thus in his letter to the Romans “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.  (Romans 12:2) . 
This world has a pattern and it is one that is in direct opposition to that of the kingdom of heaven.  In American society, there is always this agenda, that trend or this fad which is plastered in the media everyday and more often than not it contradicts the wisdom of God which is foolishness to the world.  But a prophetic people will not let itself be sucked into the ever changing opinions and wisdom of this world.  It is a sacrifice that they swim against the tide and not with it.  This mission of sacrifice can be seen with several key biblical figures such as Abraham, Joseph, Moses and Jesus.    Abraham as the progenitor of the faith lived among pagans and likely practiced the religion of his habitation being that he was from Ur of Chaldeans.  When the Lord called Abram, he told him, “Get out of your country, From your kindred and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you…” (Genesis 12:1)  Here we can see that God is telling Abram to leave everything he has ever known and has been familiar with to go to an unfamiliar place.  I think Abram must have surely wrestled with this call for it is not easy to forsake a known way for that which is unknown.  It is indeed a sacrifice and Abram having a prophetically significant destiny stepped into the challenge of it.  
When considering Joseph, his sacrifice is not readily discernible but it manifest itself in that Joseph as a slave in Egypt spent many years in prison because his master’s wife falsely accused him of trying to sleep with her.  As it so happened, Joseph refused the wife’s request to sleep with her because it would have been a sin against God.  (Exodus 39:9) Joseph sacrificed the convenience of flesh for the integrity of God and I tend to believe that the reason God gave Joseph the dream is because he had a spirit of integrity and faithfulness to Him.  There are not many men who would resist the request for sexual relations with a woman even if it is adultery and it is perhaps why Joseph’s brother’s were not chosen for his prophetically significant task.  Moses grew up as Pharaoh’s   grandson.  He was surrounded by the wisdom and luxury of Egypt but his sacrifice was that he could not deliver the Hebrews from slavery from a position of power but one of lowliness. 
When the Lord called Moses he had been keeping the flock of his father-in-law in  Midian so that basically he was a shepherd.  Moses had probably given up on the notion of being used by God to help the Hebrew people given that he was no where near Egypt let alone in the palace of Pharaoh.  He probably thought like any of us would that his best position was in the house of Pharaoh and that God would use his position as a means to deliver the Israelites. Once he ruined his position by killing an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew and fled after being found out, he may have thought his chance was gone.  The Lord let forty years elapse before he would appear to Moses not in the grand palace of Egypt but in a desert as a flame in a bush.  The elapsing of forty years also allowed the men who sought Moses life to die so that he could return to Egypt and could be the primary reason for Moses forty year exile.  In any event we see that like Joseph Moses had to go down before he could rise back up.  It is very often the case with prophetic callings that one will be in prisons, wildernesses and obscurity before the Lord uses that person.
The life of Jesus is the epitome of sacrifice.   In a previous post The Ultimate Call, I discussed his prophetic significance and it must be noted again that Jesus wilderness experience was being tempted by the devil for forty days.  To say the least he passed with flying colors but one can see how he had to eschew what the world thinks is a primary stamp of validation and that is having outward prestige with accompanying money and power.   If Jesus had accepted the world’s criterion for what a success is he would have lost the power that allowed him to best the spiritual forces of darkness.  In the kingdom of the spirit where things really mattered he was an apex spiritual predator--The Godzilla of his spiritual domain, the lion of his spiritual jungle.  At the end of the day Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice by laying down his life for the world, but it wasn’t a vain sacrifice for as it is stated in Hebrews 12:2 “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith who for the joy set before him  endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Jesus indeed performed the ultimate in going down, but he also experienced the ultimate in being raised up as the Son of God exemplar.



Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Prophetic Church and The Church of The Individual


My Father If It Is Not Possible For This Cup To Be Taken Away Unless I Drink It May
Your Will Be Done
     In the discourse of the church today, there tends to be a heavy focus on the individual in relation to God and not so much a focus on God himself.   Even as a country we have heard many a political leader say “God Bless America” without so much as a thought as to what it would take for God to bless America.  Is God and I am assuming they mean the Judeo-Christian God, suppose to bless America no matter what America does?  When God entered into a covenant of blessing a nation, that nation was Israel and along with those blessings came curses for disobedience to the covenant.  So, what we have among the nations today is the sun shining on the just as well as the unjust and rain, raining on the just as well as the unjust. 

            It is telling that a nation who wants God to bless it does not ask what it can do to bless or please him, but it is the same attitude that represents a segment of the church.  It is an attitude that emphasizes the discrete over the aggregate;  the “I” over the “us” so that being a disciple of Jesus is more about what he can do for me as opposed to what does he want of me in the context of the body of Christ and how can I bless him?  I heard tidbits of a message of a certain popular Christian pastor who said, and I paraphrase  “ God wants to supersize your life or your dreams.”  He used Joseph as an example in that after his imprisonment in Egypt God didn’t just release him but made him ruler over Egypt.   It is a discrete look at Joseph,  that would make it appear that God just looked at Joseph and wanted him to be the high official in Egypt, that his only interest was in promoting Joseph to some high station.   I have already discussed Joseph’s prophetic significance in the previous article and the contrast to the pastor’s perspective is evident.  Contrary to popular Christian thinking today, the bible is not a book that is overwhelmingly concerned with the individual as the star of the play so to speak and whether or not they are living their dreams.  When individuals are spotlighted they usually have something to do with the state of Israel and whereas one can draw encouragement or learn what not want to do in a given circumstance, the stories are never about just the individual.   

            Today we have a Christendom that is at times little more than gloried spiritual self help and God is little more than a big Santa marsh mellow in the sky whose sole purpose is to get the individual through the drudgery of their lives.  This is barely a step above the way pagans view the “gods” they worship.  As much as Christians would like to think so, Satan and demonic spirits are not that jazzed if you get a job, promotion , move into a bigger house or get a flashier car.  They also could care less about shiny church buildings, flashy pastors and parishioners, or a myriad of church programs. None of that impresses or moves them.    The only thing that impresses them is when someone or a people has a prophetically significant destiny and this can be seen in Acts 19:  13-15 when some Jewish exorcist tried to cast out an evil spirit and was assaulted by the demon who said to them “Jesus I know, Paul I know, but who are you?”.   Therefore, a church which is not attuned to its prophetic destiny is not a church that is a threat or is impressive to them.  
     The church as a part of Israel was meant to be a prophetic statement to the principalities and powers of the air.   However,  the church that makes this statement is not one which has all the shiny trappings of achievement that mimics the world, but one which is adorned in the spiritual riches of the holy of spirit.  I will discuss this more in another article.  I do not mean to imply that the individual is not important to God because having that personal relationship with him is integral in our walk as well or that He is not concerned about our day to day issues, but when dealing with those things which are prophetically significant the individual is necessarily deemphasized and that which pertains to the glory of the Father is paramount.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Prophetic Focus

 
Prophetic Focus
 
When you have a destiny rooted in prophetic significance, you do not let
human sentiment get in the way of the truth you know
 
 
 
     When someone or something for example Israel and by extension the church has a call rooted in prophetic significance-that is one in which their call is historically situated in the coming expiration of the end of this age, it can be a challenge to ignore the background noise of the world and the pull of this issue and that issue.  Jesus might term this the cares of world and some of these cares might even be legitimate ones. Lets take for example John the Baptist.  John the Baptist was the forerunner of Jesus and he was also his cousin.  He knew who Jesus was and described him as one whose sandals he was not fit to carry. (Matthew 3:11).  Apparently John had disciples and I have always been curious as to why John never became Jesus’s disciple once he began his ministry.  I do not have an answer to that, but one thing is obvious and that is John was still doing his work even as Jesus was doing his.  This can be seen when John is arrested by Herod for telling him it was unlawful for him to be married to his brother’s wife.  John sent a message to Jesus via his disciples while he was in prison and asked him, “Are you the one who was to come,” or should we expect someone else? (Matthew 11:2).

     Jesus’ responded, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.” (v. 4-6).  Evidently, John was expecting Jesus to rescue him from prison and perhaps he even thought that what Jesus should be doing was addressing the political leaders and issues of his day in expectation of him ascending to the throne of Israel.  Jesus lets him know that he was doing what he was suppose to be doing and his call was not to politics of the worldly kind.  But if Jesus had been unsure of what his task was he may have left what he was doing to intervene on John’s behalf.  He let him know what the kingdom of heaven was about and it wasn’t about addressing political ills and all its various issues.

     In life there is always this problem and that problem, this issue and that issue, the kingdom of men is full of them.  I have no doubt Jesus was emotionally torn about John, but even the pull of human emotions could not pull him away from the task of his call because Jesus very destiny was mired in prophetic significance.  His destiny was completely wrapped up in advancing the kingdom of heaven against the kingdom of darkness and ultimately making an open show of them.  He knew he had to take care of the spiritual aspect of the bondage of sin before any natural restoration of the kingdom of Israel could occur. When Jesus heard that John had been beheaded he withdrew by boat privately to a private place. (Matt 14:13). I can fathom with the little time that he had that he shed more than a few tears.

     It is not easy to have a call of prophetic significance.  There is a sacrifice of things everyday people do not have to endure, but I attribute Jesus’ ability to ignore the weedy, clamoring issues of the world to the fact that he was not under the auspices of Satan and his kingdom and his prayer life.  He was never moved by the need for possessions, money, food, work etc.  None of the natural requirements of life could deter him from his mission because he demonstrated on numerous occasions that he was the master of his environment.