Prophecy

Assaying is the testing of metal or ore, to determine its quality. The prophet Jeremiah was made an ‘assayer of people’s hearts' by the Lord God. By learning the Bible and its foundational messages you will learn to easily determine people’s hearts. This will help you connect with others who love Jesus Christ, or help disciple those who are battling with life’s struggles.

Prophecy will always have a sense of purpose and illumination and point to a path of renewal, direction or warning. Safety measure: Hearing God / prophecy will never conflict with the Bible themes, teaching and moral laws and requirements.

Praying for wisdom and discernment is a good place to start either if you have heard a prophecy from someone else, or if you feel you yourself have a prophecy, sometimes called a word from God. We can see from the scriptures that these can come in the form of dreams, waking visions, pictures in the mind, or even from physical translation (I.e "I saw before me…"). Some good starters for testing prophecy include:

Does it have a sense of illumination? Is it positive? This does not mean it should be 'happy and rosy’ as many prophecies are serious warnings on life’s path. A prophecy should always offer a challenge to change ones attitudes, behaviour or direction for one that matches Biblical truths. Or it should be an encouragement to press on no matter what storm we find ourselves in.

Does the prophecy concur with Bible themes or principles? For example, Bible prophecy often  encourages a nation, or a group or just one person: ‘scripturally’ frequently showing them future outcomes from a given right or wrong behaviour. So we can see that prophecy is actually a merciful signposting event from God. To reiterate, warning of a barrier, sin or attitude that will hinder a country, a group or person's commitment to God, this is also connected to blessings and curses. 

If a prophecy doesn’t fit a Biblical pattern you may have reason to believe that this could be from the imagination, psyche or even another spiritual source altogether. Does it reverse reflect and concur with the orthodox hermeneutic pattern of interpretation: remember God is not in conflict with His word - the Bible, so if the prophecy (having a similarity to Sōde revelation) flies in the face of simple Biblical Peshat teaching it is not from God. [Peshat and Sōde? See hermeneutics].

Two examples: 

1) In Jeremiah’s time the children of God were in rebellion, yet the prophets prophesied that everything was going to be fine and turn out well. This cannot be from God because the people had failed the Peshat level or either understanding God’s laws or obeying them even on a simple level.

2) A guy comes up to the pastor and says that God has told him to divorce his wife and marry the church’s head of the string quartet. Clearly this flies in the face of God’s views on divorce and the sanctity of marriage and it is therefore not from God.

These are fairly simple examples of course, though amazingly still blindly and blatantly occur. It takes a certain level of commitment to the scriptures to program ones mind to become effective in understanding and decoding prophecy for two reasons.

1) It is 'the code' (the word) and ultimately comes from God’s Law (which is permanent).

2) Its delivery to the mind is primarily using the highly visual, creative and imaginative parts of the brain. This manifests in sometimes confusing patterns or genres of speech. One could argue that this is becuase the message is targeted not just to the ‘reasoning' part of the brain but to the very deepest non-verbal parts of a human being: made up of body, soul and spirit.

Prophecies must be tested by other prophets (people who can honestly hear from God). While God will speak through a donkey; still some safety measures include a person who shows the fruit of the Holy Spirit i.e. the Fruits of the Spirit and crucially a person who properly fulfills the qualifications of a leader. Why? Because the act of prophecy is potentially directive, even though a prophet is not a leader. For a community, Paul's leader qualifications might be a reasonable guide in determining that a person is both a believer and in a fairly good place with God. It is vital that women play a fundamental role in prophecy, both on account of Old Testament evidence and prophesies, and also evidence from the Christian community itself in the early New Testament church.

The gift of prophecy is real today. It is without evidence to say that it only existed in the time of the New Testament: evidenced miracles have been happening all the time since Bible times. The scriptures quite clearly state the reality of 'the gifts of the Spirit’ and they will continue into the last days. The Bible encourages that all people strive to have the gift of prophecy (1 Cor 14:1). Prophecy means to 'speak by inspiration’ to 'say what God wants to be said’. Prophets must be watched to see if their words are either effective in encouraging and or creating renewal or if they accurately foretell a given outcome from rejection of a warning for example. The challenge we see from Jesus’ parables for example is that the language of the supernatural is difficult to understand let alone interpret. The Book of Revelation is an example of this. The Bible actually says that these words can only be understood by people who have been chosen by God.

Prophecies are ment to be enigmatic

Often prophecies are initially not very clear to understand or interpret, there is a theological premise for this. Jesus spoke in an enigmatic style frequently and there are predestination reasons for this. Though it is uncomfortable to here, some people are being lost and even God has chosen that some will not hear and understand and be saved. God gives wisdom and prophecy in a very visual metaphoric or allegorical language that resonates with the very core of our being; before our rational minds can try and understand it, or bend it to fit our own ideological or sociological wants. This way God can communicate with people in a manner that transcends beyond both the ‘receivers' controlling mind or the prophet’s personality. 

To end this passage it is important to remember that this type of language only properly resonates with people for whom the Bible tells us are receptive and willing to want to know God’s wisdom. Parables are another example of a type of communication that takes a certain openness and condition of the heart to understand. 

Jezebel and Ahab Syndrome

The spirit of Jezebel (rightfully addressed by John Paul Jackson in his famous book Unmasking the Jezebel Spirit) is one of the principle evil authorities over nations. It works and lives in the church and even your family. Our society, church, families, and individuals are personally targeted attacked, infiltrated, sabotaged, and robbed by this duo of darkness. This Jezebel and Ahab duel spirit works very effectively but not exclusively through both women and male couples.

Jesus Christ speaking in Revelation specifically addresses the subject of not tolerating the Jezebel spirit (Rev 2:20-23). The Bible gives us a clear picture that warns about the best of God’s servants being led away into wrong teaching (the Bible talks about sexuality for one example). One signifying factor of this spirit is that it seeks to kill the work of prophets, destroy true worship, and proper focus on the centrality of Jesus Christ. From the scriptures we clearly learn that the Jezebel spirit primarily misleads, and corrupts the church by minimising the value of doctrine, prophecy and prophets. The outcome of this activity neutralises the life of prophets, pastors, and other male authority figures in the community. Jezebel is out to destroy the families inherent Biblical protection structure, morality, and God-ordained authority. Jezebel tries to hold back prophets because they hear God and actively cut against 'agenda and systems’ which inherently hold the people of God in neutral gear. In a modern church scenario this work will also extend to avoiding worship that is Christ centred, or by singing songs that are contra to sound doctrine. On a micro level the working is to create, adjust and maintain structures from behind the scenes that have the appearance of a sound body of Christ but without any real manifestation of God’s move or power outpouring.

What does a Prophetic person Look Like?

In Bible times we see that they sometimes live on the outskirts of the city. They are uncomfortable with man-made systems and structures, but nonetheless still serve the community with loving hearts where possible. This ‘distance' can be mistaken to be a lack of commitment. 

We unequivocally see from the scriptures that prophets are creative people in the methodologies and language that they use. Bezalel and Oholiab (art / designers) were the very first people God poured out his Holy Spirit on! The priesthood too were musicians. Jeremiah, Daniel, Joel and the other prophets universally used poetry, prose, philosophy, pictures and installations (a physical exhibition oftern sculptural in form) to convey the heart of God. Isaiah’s wife Hulda the prophetess was the wardrobe holder/designer for the King.

Prophetic people have a somewhat dogmatic fixation on the purity of obeying God’s word, orthodoxy and the centrality of Messiah. They often seek solitude away from the throng, walking in deserts (or moors), climbing hills / mountains or having monastic periods away from the public. They have a heart for Isreal, eagerly awaiting the second coming of the Lord, they have an in-depth understanding of all things eschatological because the eschaton is the final objective for all prophecy - it is the main thing! In short they keep the main thing the main thing. Incidentally, the Greek word dogma means doctrine in English. In reality dogma is a good thing not the negative monoscopic meaning people give it today.

Wolves

As in all situations there are counterfeit prophets: wolves. This is a church term used to explain false prophets, and there is a plethora of frauds and counterfeits. We shouldn’t be surprised either, God has described in the Bible that we should expect that there will be "many false prophets”.

A false prophet will work on one person at a time to convey a hidden agenda (like a wolf) they wont share their thoughts with a broad group like a church leadership team, or a church leader first. Wolves often appear just before revival, or a new move of God.

A useful picture is to think of the wild; like the ‘movement' in a herd out in the Serengeti when a heard is moving to new pasture (a metaphor for revival). The wolf will look for people who are going through great inner conflict or relationship issues and who may be finding it difficult to keep up with the herd and or the new move of God. Then they will quickly seek to gain that person’s security with sympathy before delivering words of false wisdom.

Another common type of false prophet (even a church leader) is one who believes or says everything is ok all the time. Someone in authority who has fixed ideas about religious practice and customs that do not necessarily fit with scripture. 

Wolf prophets are unstable people who mimic similar but skin deep prophetic idiosyncrasies. However, like the qualifications required for leadership the scriptures help us with identification of fakes by pointing out that their personal lives must match the fruits of the spirit. The Bible clearly teaches us that proper individuals are upstanding men and women of God, who if married, have long, loving and happy intimate marriage relationships. They have children who follow the Lord, and a good name in the community. The Bible shows us that prophets don't serve obscure people, instead they often serve or are found in the company of kings, politicians and prominent people sometimes gathering in municipal/civic and govenment buildings.

Prophets, have relationships with influential people and in unusual or dangerous situations on a local or global scale. Today these kinds of people can be found in all areas of life and especially in war, famine, the mission field or parliament, the media and music industry. In short they are in places where communication is happening.

Some obvious guides and warnings are in the next column on the right. 

Principally though...

a) Jezebel thrives in areas of abandonded Biblical doctrine.

b) Be mindful of new charatcers that appear out of nowhere and want to get involve with Church administration (Esp. around a time of potential revival).

c) Initial target areas are administrative roles which give access to confidential information about the whole body. The end game is to run the body, church or group.

d) Roles in childcare work are highly vulnerable.

e) Access or control in the music ministry

f) Currying favour with the pastor and saying the right things.


Biblical evidence and a pause for thought about religious systems: 

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” (Luke 13:34 ESV)

Jerusalem is mentioned twice and thirdly the city (Jerusalem again)… Jerusalem has a few figurative meanings in the original Greek. One meaning for Jerusalem is 'present religious institutions’. Clearly a city is not a physical being that can rise up and stone a person, so this passage is geographically locating Jerusalem as a place, identifying the religious behaviour of its citezens, and thirdly providing a typology and scenario that has happened in history, and now (from Paul to the Church age) concerning messengers from God to a people.

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