The Manifold Wisdom of God
What does it mean to think prophetically? In order to obtain an answer to that question, I want to take us to a different view of certain passages of Scripture that we may have not quite considered in such a manner before. We will develop a prophetic paradigm to view the Word through, our generation through, and the the purpose of God in us through. These observations I believe will help us to come to–not a conclusion–but an introduction into the understanding of the manifold wisdom of God. This being established, the next few paragraphs are going to mold for us lenses to see from an angle needed to witness the unfolding of the mystery sought.
The prophetic can undogmatically be summed up in three areas:
1) Prophecy and Prophecies or Prophesying;
2) The Office of a Prophet;1
3) The Prophetic Life.2
The prophetic life is the view that I want to create for all of us to see ourselves in. To establish this I want to ask a few questions:
- What statement does your life make to your generation?
- What would you prophesy to your generation?
- What is your prophetic name? Prophetic calling?
Understanding who you are in a prophetic light and your calling to your generation is in a sense, prophesying to yourself. Your prophetic identity establishes that which your life prophesies to your generation. The experiences you have in heaven are the statements that you make to the earth. Knowing what is going on there, what is happening in the Father’s heart is vital to effectively advancing the kingdom in your generation.
The Eternal City
What did Abraham do? What was so special about wandering around in the desert for a hundred years? Yes, he believed in God and it was credited to him as righteousness (Romans 4:3); but there was more to it. What was the fruit or return for walking in that kind of faith on the planet with a heavenly mentality for all those years?
By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. Hebrews 11:8-10 NASB3
He wasn’t just wondering around in the desert. He was looking for the city which is designed and built by God and I believe that in doing this he himself was laying the blueprint for all of us–for all who would walk this journey of faith after him, thus pouring the ground work for such a city to built on the earth.
This is an unseen yet eternal city. Despite the devil’s best efforts and all the forces in the heavenly realms, this city continues to grow from generation to generation. It is the mountain (Daniel 2:44-45) that is filling the earth. It is not just a city but a kingdom. This is what we are a part of here and now. Even though we are still earthly, as believers, we are also entirely heavenly. The perception and consumption of this releases a prophetic life.
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. (Eph 2:19-22 NASB, emphasis mine)
Prophets are builders. They are the foundation in whom heaven shines through for others to add to the building on top of the foundation they’ve laid. In order to build you must recognize yourself as such. The recognizing brings the equipping. Knowing who you are in the Lord creates an identity that is a constant building yourself up, thus making you able to both function in the prophetic and prophetically. To view life in this manner reqires us to change the way that we think.
Transforming the Mind
To repent or repentance is often mistaken for meaning to feel sorry for your sins, or to turn from your sins. In the original Greek it means to change the way that you think. The word is metanoeō. The first word is meta which means; among, after, with, (and) afterward. And noeō means: to perceive, see, think, understand-which comes from the word noos-mind.
Now we will plug our new definition of repentance into a verse:
From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4:17
This could also be said of the verse: “Change the way that you think, the kingdom of heaven has drawn near.” Now in mentioning ‘kingdom’, there is a knowledge that accompanies it. All that the Law and the Prophets spoke of and prophesied of is now fulfilled, because that heavenly kingdom described by them, is now here. This is something that only the Messiah could accomplish. Jesus is the Kingdom in Himself. To capture this requires a massive shift in thinking, especially for the Jewish audience in who His attention was being captured. This kingdom is the one referenced earlier in Daniel 2. It is the city being built by God in the earth. Only those who repent and live a lifestyle of repentance can live this way. If repentance can also be defined as afterthought, then what is being stated is that this is the way you must think after the kingdom has drawn near.
For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace… (Romans 8:5, 6)
We now think according to the Spirit. This is the transforming of the mind. Not that we now have to think according to a new set of rules, but to be liberated from the desires of the flesh into the desires of the Spirit.
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1, 2)
A transformed mind understands and approves the will of God. It perceives and thinks with the kingdom view. The word transformed is metamorphoō. It has the same preposition for the first word as repent, meta. I am sure the second word morphoō sounds familiar to you. It is metamorphosis. We all know what happens to a caterpillar when it goes into metamorphosis, it becomes a new creation, a butterfly, it is in essence, born again. This is the imagery here. Our minds are transformed to such a degree that it is like a caterpillar becoming a butterfly. Transformation is also the same word used for transfiguration in Matthew 17:2. The transforming of the mind is the same as the transfiguration of Jesus on the mountain in which the whole place was saturated by heaven. In the comparison of the two, repentance and transformation or transfiguration, we have an inside-outside picture of the transforming of our mind leading to the transforming of our bodies or lives.4
Renewing in the Greek is to make new, literally meaning upwards or up again and new, fresh. We are transformed when our minds are upwards again. Awesome, a heavenly mind is a renewed mind. This is the perspective we need. (Steve and I cover the topic of repentance in depth in the podcast; What is True Repentance?)
An Internal Revolution
Repentance is a constant re-wiring of the mind to function according to the things of heaven, according to the Spirit.
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. (1 Corinthians 2:12-13)
We think in the Spirit. We speak the mysteries the Spirit reveals to us to the earth, combining spiritual thoughts with words. Kingdom of heaven comes to earth first through out spirits and translates those revelations into thoughts in our minds, and then into words. Our action is in our mind and an effervescent effect of our word. A transformed mind understands and approves the will of God.
Thinking prophetically is thinking according to the Spirit. It is an internal revolution. It is a mental and cultural shift from our minds to His – earth to heaven – bringing heaven to earth. Thus our thought-life is our life. It drives what we do. And if heaven is in our minds, it will be in our actions.
Power in Heavenly Places
A prophetic life is an apostolic life because it displays the culture of heaven to the earth, or you could say, it EXPOSES the culture of heaven to the earth.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.
Where are we blessed? In heavenly places. What are we blessed with? Every spiritual blessing. So right away it is established that we have position of some kind in the heavenly or supernatural realm.
Which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. (Ephesians 1:20-21)
Now, where is Jesus seated? He is at the highest possible attainable place in existence, at the right hand of the Father, equal to the highest height. Who is above him in dominion and authority? No one, no thing, He is above them all, in this age (earthly) and the one to come (heavenly). No name is above His.
And raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. v 2:6
Where are we seated? At His right hand in heavenly places. How many heavenly authorities are above us? None. What is above us? Nothing. This is our place in the heavenly realm. According to this text, we are at the highest obtainable place in time and eternity-on the earth now. God the Father, and Jesus the Son, are the ones above us yet they placed us at the right hand of the right hand. We love and serve them, but how awesome is it that they set us on the same plane as they are? How wonderful is our God! I am not saying that we are equal with God, but God’s desire is for us to be in the same proximity as Him and His Son. Through His Spirit we enter into this holy communion. And no force nor power can break the bond of God within Himself. What a mystery… This is the mystery revealed in our minds.
For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16)
It is so important for us to have this prophetic perspective on things. A mind that thinks like this can accomplish anything according to the will of God.
Now, why are we at such a high place in the heavens? What is the goal? A relationship with Him of course, but what is the outcome of that, or what witness is made to the heavens and the earth as a result?
And to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Ephesians 3:9-11, emphasis mine)
Oh my goodness! Volumes could not escort this masterpiece of Biblical pleasure, but I will attempt it.
OK, we are seated next to Jesus so He could make known the manifold wisdom of His Father to the rulers and authorities in heavenly places. Words cannot describe this. We are earthly yet heavenly, shinning the light of God to relinquish the powers of those below us, but seem above us. The evil powers are truly under our feet (Romans 16:20). Ephesians 6, the armor of God chapter is often quoted separate from this context. This contains the secret to understanding our clothing in the Spirit and our weapons there. The Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God (v 17). The Word of God is the manifold wisdom of God.
What holds creation back? Powers? How are they set free? US!
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)
For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. (Romans 8:19-21)
This is the secret of David. Earthly armor could not be put on the spiritual armor he already had on. Before he attacked Goliath, who was a manifestation of powers, we spoke the wisdom of God. The rock hit and dis-empowered the spirit before it dis-empowered the giant (1 Samuel 17:45-47).
This is not just warfare. It is our DNA. We are heavenly beings. And if we are higher than the powers, then that also means we are more heavenly than they are. Does this sound lofty? I am not reviling angelic majesties (Jude 8). I am trying to bring us to a place of understanding who we are. All His Person and power are available to us who believe (Eph 1:19).
I first became aware of the impact of this text from Art Katz. He brought up the consideration: “How many churches have this goal as their central theme, the manifold wisdom of God?” As Bob Gladstone inquires, “Who thinks this way?” Who has it as their goal to display the manifold wisdom of God to the powers? If we are the sons of God that the creation longs to be revealed, then it is our job to break the power that holds them in bondage to decay. Remember our battle is not against flesh and blood. Our battle is to set free flesh and blood. To see it set on fire with the Spirit of God, coming into its place according to the eternal purpose of Jesus at His right hand. A church like this is a church that will leave its mark on the ages.
Administering the Mystery
How is this applied? This is why I spent so much time earlier on changing the way we think. If we get heaven in our minds, then we can start to perceive this. Coming full circle, I feel this is somewhat of what Jesus meant in John 3:12:
If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?
There is a heavenly wisdom that is needed in the earth to restore the creation to the glory of God. Why are we born again? To live this way. It seems like a lot, but is simple really. We are sons of God. This is our ministry.
He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth in Him. (Eph. 1:9-10, emphasis mine)
The words administration and ministry are interchangeable based on the vernacular. We have a ministry of summing up all things in Christ. This is the only ministry suitable to the fullness of the times. When our lives make a prophetic statement in the heavenly places, then they will make a statement to our generation. The heavens are polluted (as Steve Thompson describes it) with powers that must be removed by the Church demonstrating the power of the Spirit to their generation.
If sickness is on someone, we remove the power attacking them through healing them. If hate has someone bound, we remove the power attacking them through love. This is administering the fullness of Christ. And that is our goal.
This is the personification of kingdom culture. In heavenly places is where we have this ministry. This sets up the understanding for the five-fold ministry gifts in Ephesians 4. We have yet to see the fullness of each of these gifts because, largely, we’ve yet to understand it in this light.
Our fire–the fullness of Christ brought about by thinking in a prophetic paradigm that unleashes heaven in our minds through which the manifold wisdom of God is displayed, dethroning heavenly authorities and setting people free by the power of the Holy Spirit in Jesus name.
A life lived in this magnitude is a constant prophetic tale of heaven to those on the earth. What are you now prophesying to your generation?
As for what exactly is the manifold or many-sided wisdom of God? Maybe later we can take a stab at it, but until then find and steward these mysteries in your heart, and you will become the thing, something that no definition could contain. I leave you with 1 Cor 4:1:
Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.
For Good podcast discussions on this subject matter, be sure to check out the following Fire On Your Head podcast episodes:
What is Renewed Thinking?
What is True Repentance?
What is a Prophetic Culture?
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- I use the term office because it is common, the prophetic call seems a more suitable description. [↩]
- In the previous articles I have written on the prophetic have introduced my opinion on this theme. [↩]
- emphasis mine [↩]
- I am writing with little knowledge of the Greek, but I want to thank my friend Sid for clarifying some of the wording choices as I developed this. [↩]