Schools and Churches Ruining the Prophetic
Jan 4, 2020 3:51 PM
For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy. I will show wonders in heaven above And signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD. And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved.’ Acts 2:15-21
At first I am on my way to some kind of adult school, walking on a hill with a friend. It appears to be night because there is a lot of darkness until we arrive at the school later. I asked “Do you want to go to study group right before class?” She said that the tutor is not there. I said, “I didn’t mean for the tutor– I meant we just go and study.” The idea seemed like an out-of-reach experience to her. She did not want to study without a tutor.
Then there was a realization that the assignment was already due as we were going to class. I was saying, “Wow I didn’t do the homework assignment.” I was going to class to get a zero. Somebody then told me that the assignment was critically important. Just from losing this one quiz or homework I would struggle to maintain somewhere around a 50-65% grade the rest of the semester. All I could feel was a ton of stress.
We arrived on foot to class. The room was a mobile trailer classroom by itself. Entering, I joked out into the hearing of bystanders as well as classmates that it’s “time to go learn witchcraft.” I couldn’t tell if anyone thought that my humor was funny but in a sense I was also protesting so I didn’t expect any laughs.
In the classroom the assignment was being addressed so, having nothing, I just leaned over facedown onto my desk and started eating a chicken sandwich. Strangely I buried my face into the food and sunk my teeth into the sandwich and just kind of slowly chewed (almost like eating noodles) without letting go (I thought that the teacher was going to attack me for not doing homework… and for eating in class. But nothing came of it). So this is what I did until the teacher moved on from the homework.
The sandwich only makes sense as a dream symbol.
Next we went straight to group discussion / application. I had something real to contribute but immediately this young male about the age of a college student, with long eyelashes, started presenting his results from study; he said prophecy was not happening and the modern prophecies were not real. He just seemed to know everything according to himself and he had it all figured out from the Bible but his attitude was that of shutting down all interest in prophetic revelation. Now I had a real prophetic word to share as the assignment asked for, but I couldn’t do that; the discussion kept going in this cessationism direction, there was too much dogmatic preaching from the young man with eyelashes, and the teacher just acted like a neutral witness or maybe a referee so he was no help to me either. He behaved as if our discussion on biblical prophecy could go in any direction as long as we were convincing. In other words he merely wanted to see the class participating and did not appreciate prophecy even though the curriculum was supposed to be teaching us how prophecy works in the Body of Christ, and I felt that this school was even supposed to be encouraging us to prophesy! Yet here we were doing the opposite.
End of the Dream.
Dark Hill—prophetic growth is rough terrain! Elijah told Elisha that he was asking for a difficult time when he asked for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit.
Tutor – the tutor had worldly, system-based knowledge but I wanted to study freely
Homework—the world had its plans for me, but I (or God rather) had something else
Trailer – this subject (prophecy) appears to have been sidelined away from a main building. It had a smaller class because few are interested in pursuing it
Sandwich—Instead of being bogged down in curriculums designed by man, I took to a nutritional plan of my own that built confidence. I was in danger of failing the class yet I was maybe the only one receiving from the Holy Spirit according to our original, guiding vision! Oh, the irony
Eyelashes—the young man had “allure.” This could be physical or academic or even spiritual. In any case, there is a strong pull for people to run from prophecy and go with the cool crowd. Jesus said that prophets do not have any honor in their hometown.
Once I was awake, I immediately thought of the passage, “I will pour out My Spirit” from Joel 2:28.
If God is pouring out His Spirit abundantly on “all flesh”, we need to find it odd to put newly prophesying individuals in an elaborate formal school where debates run amok. Now why does cessationism result from intellectualism? Simply this: “knowledge makes arrogant but love edifies” (1 Co 8:1). Those who have an overabundance of knowledge are helpful in certain areas but regardless of their biblical learning they might have absolutely no insight on the prophetic. This is because prophetic revelation does not come from books. The knowledgeable become arrogant and arrogance makes them self-confident, which leads them to believe that, if prophecy existed, they’d have found it by now.
When God pours out His Spirit there will be little or no teacher at all, other than His Spirit. A human teacher can only say to Samuel, “Lie down again, and if He calls you, say “Here I am,”” (1 Sam 3:8). Samuel did not need to cling to his mentor Eli for the ability of receiving in prophecy. There is a gift for interpretation, but that is for words that are already received and confirmed as legitimate. Those who hear from God, or see from God, are able to become recipients. The only thing we can add to their ability is to pray for them and build their interest in pursuing the gift. Regardless what the interpretation may be, they will develop confidence in hearing from God without special schooling. What we can do for each other is the work of confirmation– discerning when God is speaking and of course, what to interpret from there and how to apply it carefully.
Yet in my dream neither the teacher nor the other students had an eye for prophecy. They were studying the topic as if through a telescope and not practical involvement.
Believers need to recognize that there is true prophecy, it is sometimes delicate and usually difficult to understand, and we must not throw opinions and selfishly harvested knowledge at it. When the Bible says “in the Spirit” , the meaning remains a mystery to us until we have that specific kind of heavenly experience; and no, it was not just a way of describing ancient Bible study or meditation and romantic imaginations developed from the Scriptures.
I am not saying that we should be thoughtless and blindly accept everything ‘prophetic,’ but that if we want to be Bible scholars and judge prophecy with the Bible then we have to do what the Bible says which is discern “spiritual with spiritual” (1 Co 2:13-15). Be spiritual! That means we have what is known as the baptism of the Spirit. We might not all pray in tongues, we might not all interpret, and we might not all prophesy. But something powerful has to develop from the Spirit before a biblical opinion on it will make any sense. Holy Spirit is not a bland, uninteresting teacher, and neither are His presentations. If a student of prophecy has never been awed by something in his vision or dream from God, why would anyone suppose that he had heard from an Awesome God? Ask and you shall receive
Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.
For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened.
Until we receive the manifestation of prophecy it is very hard to comprehend what the prophets of the Bible were trying to explain when they had visions. “In the Spirit” is generally as real and memorable and specific as climbing a real, physical mountain. The elements of this world don’t leave room for doubt when they are overwhelming our senses and neither do heavenly elements leave us the same as they found us. These argument come from reasoning only, not experience. Those Cessationists who live in doubt and force it on others simply want to limit what Scripture promises for the church, and specifically the end times! How bizarre!
Let’s stop with the bureaucratic school mentality and the debates and nay-saying. If someone wants to condemn a prophecy he must have the experience of prophecy. That is how the Bible prophets met at their standoffs and that is how the Body of Christ now judges prophecy. A false prophet like Hananiah must be stopped by a Jeremiah, not by the Sanhedrin’s theories, opinions, or policies. Unless such a prophet proves to be a doctrinal heretic or a godless and immoral person, there is no way to condemn his prophetic claims other than with ongoing prophetic gifts! Holy Spirit will contend for His people.
If you find yourself blanketed deep in churches that know nothing of current ongoing prophecy and prophets, then you must make a decision to leave the subject alone or find a church where prophecy adorns some of its elder members like a carpentry shop adorns the man of carpentry. You’ll know a tree by its fruit. A man who only preaches doctrine and never has any dreams or visions from God cannot be said to have expertise in judging prophecy. He knows only second- or third-hand what to think of it. He can check the Scriptures but he is not familiar with riding on sea currents, so he does not understand sailing a ship other than to say, “That looks like a good ship.”
Beware the counterfeits who prophesy by their own imagination, usually with doctrinal complacency, physical prosperity, and various desires, instead of the whole counsel of God which leads to godly fear and full repentance and contentment in the simplicity of the ancient faith. No prophecy is certain just because of its commonality with other genuine prophecies though. We must learn to discern and weigh everything carefully. God is not in a rush so neither should we jump to any conclusion.
Last and most important, prophecy supports and follows the true gospel and testimony of Jesus Christ. Prophecy cannot be so important that we discontinue the focus on winning souls to the Lord Jesus Christ for their repentance, baptism, and their subsequent and expected receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). If you meet a prophet who is not adamant about the delivery of salvation to the lost and would redirect the gospel from being preached in order to emphasize his own prophecies, you are dealing with a seriously distracted soul or a deceiver. Prophecy supports the gospel to reach its full manifestation by edifying the Body of Christ in ways that intellectual knowledge and understanding cannot. And even still, this does not guarantee prophetic certainty and application.
Think of prophecy as the military satellites in space. You don’t want to go to battle without a bird’s-eye view of the battlefield. So desire earnestly that you may prophesy (1 Corinthians 14:1).
These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 1 Corinthians 2:13-15
Do not quench the Spirit.
Do not despise prophecies.
1 Thessalonians 5:19-20
God bless you and fill you with His Spirit always.