Apostolic & Prophetic
Apostolic & Prophetic Essence
David W. Edwards
The Foundation Stone
I deeply treasure the terms apostolic and prophetic. They are dear to me. I desire to know, understand, and operate in the fullness of their meaning, as Jesus intended, when He gave them as gifts to us, His church. Only when these gifts are in their proper place in the church, is there a correct foundation laid for the building up of the Body of Christ to attain to that fullness. Therefore, here a some introductory thoughts on the matter.
The church must have the actual five-fold gifts in place for the church to be solidified. A church that illuminates all the fullness of Christ will shake the heavens and the earth. It will be the exacting image of God in the heavens and in the earth. It will set the stage for the completion of the ages. It will usher in the last days. It will beat testimony that will lead to the salvation of Israel.
God has given me over to this. I am jealous for the apostolic and the prophetic and hate to see them misused and misrepresented. Therefore, in these studies, I am making a statement that I hope is correct in the shinning of truth on the essence of the apostolic, and the fullness of Christ, to the degree of revelation and teaching that I have been granted. There is so much to discuss pertaining to these issues. I am not claiming this complete, nor do I venture into vast subjects that other teachers have already examined. However it is in my heart to express the insight that I do have. (The influences of Robert Gladstone at FIRE School of Ministry and all his studies on the authentic church as combined and exemplified with a truly essential prophetic voice in Arthur Katz, and one simple yet complex earth shattering message from him, have steered me by the Spirit into this direction, and of whom a great deal of inspiration of these studies have come.)
I have been undone for anything or type of subversion of the church that does not have at the core of its being the pursuit of the real, absolute, authentic, apostolic call of the fullness of Christ. I am possessed with this; I will give my life to this; and I will settle for nothing less than true apostolic essence.
The substance of this study is a series of studies that I have conducted, researched, preached, and refined for over a decade. It will essentially paint a picture (not a complete masterpiece, but a portion) of a church that seeks, begins to function in, and moves towards, the fullness of Christ. All that I study, share, write, and preach seem to filter back to this core teaching and verses. I am both excited and guarded in sharing it because I am jealous for the truth and hate perversion. I do not know it all, but I do seek the truth of the plumb line that stretches throughout all of Scripture.
Lord your will be done. Guide my hand in the unleashing of that which You have placed in my heart, Take away my own thoughts and celebrate yours. May this help all of us to become more like You. To be part of, and individually a body that understands, pursues, begins to walk in, and reaches the fullness of Christ, in Jesus name, Amen.
Building the House of God
The church is a body, not a building. God is building a people, not a palace. The house is not the structure; it is the people who reside together, and the family that makes up its constitution. So, in reference to the building up of the house of God, it is the local and worldwide body of believers who are of the significance.
“For through Him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 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 cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you are also being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.”
This passage describes the foundation and building up of the church into a temple of God. The building must have the proper starting point-”corner stone; ” the proper foundation-”apostles and prophets,” for it to grow into the temple, the dwelling place of God. The procedure for this is found in Ephesians 4:11-13, the equipping of ministry into maturity, which results in completeness and fullness. A church that is the actual house of God, the temple of His presence, and a people in whom the living God dwells, will be a true representation of His image to the earth. Thus, the challenge is seeing a church built in this apostolic essence; a church that God would actually inhabit. He does dwell in each of us at various levels of fullness, but we must join in the unity of the Spirit (v 4:3) as on people (John 17:21) full of God-Jesus in the earth in us.
The Foundation Stone
Jesus is the foundation stone. He is the revelation of God to mankind. Everything in the church is built on Him, for Him and through Him. He is the foundation for all creation (Jn 1:1-5). He is the spoken Word of God, who became flesh, and walked with us to show us the way to God, the way to live in the Spirit, and the way to fellowship as a body of those who believe in Him (Jn 1:14; 14:6; 17). He came to redeem all creation from the bonds of death (Rom 8:19-21) and restore their relationship with God. He chose to have a body of people in the earth-His church- to be His ambassadors (2 Cor 5:20), and preach the good news that He is Lord to all men everywhere (Mt 28:18-20). Now there must be a proper foundation in place for the rest of the building to be built upon, and function properly.
Jesus asked His disciples who people said that He was (13-16). The response by the disciple was a natural one. They knew He was supernatural so they compared Him to other supernatural men. This sounds good, but their vision was still on men and not on God. They needed to lift their vision higher, so Jesus asked them the question again; “But who so you say that I am?”
Peter had his vision on God. He was not comparing Jesus to other men. Jesus was more than a man. He was God manifested in their midst, yet it still required the unveiling of a mystery to see this. Jesus was revealing in such a way to show that the unveiling of the mysteries of the kingdom come from God, and not from man. The vision must not be surface level, and must be a heavenly eternal vision. This is where, at this time, Peter had his sights. Therefore he could make the proclamation that this Man was the “Christ, the Son of the living God.” This is the same as saying; “Here is God!” This is monumentous, this is perplexing, this is a clarion call sounding throughout the earth: creation acknowledging and returning in faith and revelation to His creator. Here is the announcement to the heavens and the earth, the creation and the universe HERE IS GOD! (This revelation should be present within us everywhere we go, if indeed we are the church.)
Do you realize what it took for Peter to speak that out (17)? What it took for Peter to confess that? Peter who was a Jew in a nation where all men where looking for this? This was risky; to look at this man, Jesus, as the Son of God. Yet all the others missed it. God was staring them in the face, but because they were looking at the appearance of a man, they missed the revelation needed to understand that this was the appearance of God.
Thus you have the revelation of two paradigms: The vision of God and the vision of man. This is the core of the issue in determining that which it in is initiation is defined as; the way or God or the way of man. This is precisely why Jesus came, to save us from our own way and to show us His. Ours is the influenced by the devil and it is the way to death. His way is influenced by the Holy Spirit, and is the way to life. The very first thing to understand in the church is that Jesus is Lord, and from this revelation, we must build the church in the Spirit, by further revelation from Him, and not try to build it ourselves.
Jesus recognizes that Peter had a revelation of Him from the Father (18). He tells Peter-small rock-that on this large rock-revelation-He will build His church. All that the church does should be built upon this stone, this rock of revelation, Jesus the very Word of God. This is, in a sense, the birth of the church. And as we will see later, the church is over all dominion in the earth (19), because she is seated right next to Jesus in the heavenly places (Eph 2:6). The church has the keys to the highest supernatural power and can mover both heaven and earth, natural and spiritual.
Jesus has laid the foundation and now He begins to build on it (21). He starts to reveal more of who He is and the purposes of God. This includes His suffering, death and resurrection. He must suffer death from man, so that man can be redeemed from suffering death from Him. He just showed that the way of man is not of God. He came from God to man as a man, to save them from the ways of man and restore them through this revelation to the ways of God. His death by men will put their ways to death, when in Him, they acknowledge that the way they have been living is evil and that they must repent and live according to His ways. So when we believe we shift from living in the paradigm of men into living in the paradigm of God.
He must die and rise again, and the revealing of this is the next stone of revelation that is now being laid by Jesus for the church to be built up properly. (The rejection of these two foundational truths is the basis for which most cults and false religions stand.) Jesus is Lord, and His dying for us, rising again and ascending to the Father is the very heart of the matter for all that we believe as Christians.
Now Peter has a paradigm shift (22-23). His vision was on God for the first revelation. And now for the second, we find that Peter’s vision was on man. Peter did not understand that Jesus was building upon the first revelation. Sometimes we get one revelation just to set us up for another, in order to understand both. The danger lies in camping out on the first and missing the second. Peter took his eyes off the fact that God was speaking with Him and revealing something new to Him, and saw with the eyes of men. This is why Peter was rebuked so harshly by Jesus. The devil’s aim is to get us to follow our own appetites, what is appealing to the flesh, just as he did with Eve (Gen 3:6). Death, there is nothing the flesh hates more than death. It would rather your spirit die than it, just so it can survive a little bit longer. Jesus recognized satan as influencing Peter, so he rebuked him saying;
“Get behind me satan, you are a stumbling block to me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interest, but man’s.”
Looking at man’s interest instead of God’s is demonic and satanic. This will not build up, but it will tear down. If we try to add to what God is building with our flesh, then it will be a destructive stumbling block that tears away at the building of God. It does not belong. Revelation is sent of God. Apostolic means “sent ones.” God sends us the plans of His building, as Jesus was doing here, through revelation of the Spirit and the Word.
In order to build up the body, we must continue in this, keep our visions on God, and deny the flesh. Our flesh is in tune with the ways of man, which is why we must make our flesh submit. After Jesus rebukes Peter, He then goes on to teach his disciples how to avoid this while at the same time He adding further revelation to the plan of God. Jesus is denying the flesh and so must the disciples if they are to be like Him. They must get their eyes of the temporal (26) and focus on the eternal. This will keep the building strong and free of stumbling blocks. We are not building man’s house, we are building God’s. The church should reflect the image of God and not the image of man. What are you building?
Jesus preached repent or change the way you think and live (GR def.), the Kingdom of heaven is at hand. Jesus was of course preaching proclaiming this news to His Jewish brothers. In their mindsets and understanding of the theme of the kingdom of which He was proclaiming. I think of the references to the kingdom in Daniel.
In Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the statue we find an illustration of all of the kingdom’s of all time. I am not going to take a stance on the metaphoric meanings here, just some quick gleanings. There is a list of all of these kingdoms and their rule and power, then all of the sudden out of now where you see a rock cut out without human hands strike the statue and crush it so that it is scattered by the wind.This stone became a mountain that fills the whole earth. ref. Dan 2:31-31; 44-45.
So this kingdom is set up by God and not human hands and it destroys all of the other kingdoms and fills the earth. Jesus was proclaiming that this kingdom was at hand which is why it was so powerful. “At hand” the Interlinear says “has drawn near.” The kingdom which would fill the earth. (This is not a strictly eschatological statement. Prophecy is like a stone that bounces across a lake that has several fulfillments before splashing onto its final unveiling or apocalypse. Ref. John the Baptist was the Elijah to come and after making that statement, Jesus again said that Elijah would come.) We see now that Jesus by preaching the kingdom is at hand is also now demonstrating it because He is fulfilling the revelation of the dream.
We know that Jesus is the chief corner stone, rejected of men, and the kingdom that he is now building in the earth is not of man’s origins but God’s. He is the stone that strikes the statue, the evil empire, and His kingdom is the one that is now filling the earth. (Eph 1:19-23)
Jesus was also speaking to His disciples when proclaiming these things. He taught them to pray “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven…” Is there sickness, sin and death in heaven? Absolutely not. On earth as it is in heaven. Jesus brought the realities of heaven to earth when He preached, healed the sick, raised the dead… He was demonstrating the kingdom and pushing back the powers of darkness at the same time. The same way David’s stone defeated Goliath. The disciples were witnesses of these things, for Jesus was training them to go and do likewise. Luke 9:2; Mt 10:7-8 They were sent out to do and say the same things. They are apart of His kingdom, demonstrating the power of heaven here on the earth, just as they were instructed to pray for.
After Jesus ascended His disciples went out everywhere preaching the Gospel. Signs and wonders and salvations and new church plants were all fruits of their ministries and a demonstration of the kingdom of heaven filling the earth.
Everywhere we go we bring the kingdom. We go to the grocery store and see someone sick, we have an opportunity to show them how much Jesus loves them by healing their sickness. The kingdom is in us. The more we preach the more His kingdom fills the earth. The more we love people… The more we share and discuss the things of God on forums such as these, the more mature we become and the more the kingdom is advanced.
Yes there is an ultimate fulfillment. Our goal as a church, a fellowship of believers should be to walk in all the fullness of Christ (Eph 4:11-13). There will be a ministry suitable to the fullness of the times where all things are summed up in Christ (Eph 1:10) and I believe that the closer we get to the fullness, it will usher in the fulfillment of the age, and the final fulfillment of the kingdom. Jesus is alive in you and He wants that life to come up out of you and touch the nations.
New Apostolic Age
“But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say not of this creation.”
Christ entered the eternal tabernacle as the eternal sacrifice. In the tabernacle was the Holy Place. It was the place where the presence of God resided. This is a shadow of that which was in eternity, in heaven. This is the tabernacle which Jesus entered. The heavenly Holy Place is God Himself. This tabernacle is of eternity and not the earthly, it is not made with human hands. In essence it is in origin of God.
Apostle means “sent one.” Things that have their origin in God are obviously of God. Whatever proceeds forth of God, is of God. Whatever is sent of God, is of God. If it has its origin from above it is from God, if it does not it is of man, being influenced by satan (Matthew 16:23). It is not of man’s hands but of God’s hands.
God Himself carved out men, a people for Himself. They are the stone cut out, like their elder brother Jesus, that fills the earth with His Kingdom (Daniel 2:44-45). Creation will culminate with a people who are apostolic, sent of God, who have their origin, calling, and motivation in Him, and Him alone. They will change and challenge the earth to such a degree that the fullness of time will manifest.
The arsenal of men will not work (1 Samuel 38-39); only the secrets of God will reveal the way to each man’s heart and slay the giants of their generation (1 Sam 17:40; 49). This will not be cut out by the education of men (1 Corinthians 1-5), but in the river of th presence of God.
The writer here is showing that the old covenant was a temporal shadow of the eternal. Now the Eternal One (Jesus) has come, and offered the eternal sacrifice (Himself), fulfilling the old and beginning the new. This is the inauguration of a new era. The temporal being filled and fulfilled by the eternal. Apostolic.
The kingdom of Heaven has come to the earth through Jesus. He broke the eternal veil between God and man, with His eternal sacrifice; without which we would spend eternity with out God. He is the gateway through which we all must pass into eternity (i.e. eternal life and salvation). Likewise our relationship with Him allows eternity to flow through us to the world. The eternal, sent of God to overtake all the earthly kingdoms and establish His rule. This is our call, apostles of the kingdom; building, establishing and equipping that which is born in the heart of God and to make His will a reality in the now, here, in our day to day existence and being.
The writer is stressing here something that the Hebraic reader would have either accepted or vehemantly rejected; that this Jesus is the fulfillment of the entire nation of Israel’s existence. And that nation, while it remains unique as the people through which He came, now must embrace the sending out of that which God has intended.
The last days are (and could be transliterated as) a new Jesus age. And just as Jesus was sent of the Father (John 17:18) so He is sending us to magnify what He did for all, and marry the heart of man to the heart of God, the spirit of man to the Spirit of God. This is a new apostolic age whence the will of God will shine forth through a people that are sent from Him. The find their dwelling in Him and He in them, and through that relationship, the world will be won!
This will be somewhat of a picture of what the apostolic church will look like. This is not a dogma on the office of an apostle, but a prophetic glimpse of a time when the reality of the apostolic actually is a reality in the earth. And I pray that this word which I feel the Lord has given is and apostolic statement the permeates truth and life, in Jesus name.
What is the Prophetic?
Who is a prophet? What is prophecy? What is the prophetic? I am not even going to attempt to completely answer all of these questions, if indeed that would be possible. I will, however touch on them in order to derive somewhat of a description for each. I do not call myself a prophet, nor do I have a full and mature understanding of the subject. I do feel God has given me some insight and revelation on the essence of the prophetic that I will share. For what part the body may be built up from this, I pray that not my words, but His go forth and fulfill.
Prophetic essence is the only statement that encapsulates the demeanor of that which is being portrayed. The word “essence” as defined by Webster’s Dictionary means: “The real nature; the central true element.” The premise of this discussion is curtailed in this definition. What is the true element of the prophetic? The conclusion will not be complete or perfect, yet this is the perspective from which we will approach the discussion; growing in, searching for, and finding that which is truly prophetic; the essence of the prophetic.
What Manner of Man is a Prophet?
What manner of man or women is a prophet? At first glance, when exploring the Scriptures, the first thing that comes to mind is that they were absolutely consumed with the Word of the Lord. As I think back across different stories, I remember them as people of God whose very lives revolve around that spoken word. I also remember them; as Art Katz puts it, as “other.” They seemed to be separate; Separate form the world system and thought. Yes, some of them actually lived out their lives, apparently in exclusion form others. And some lived in the midst of society, but they were still other, still separate, and still different from those around them. Their separation was a separation unto God.
The Separate Ones
They were known as prophets because they were known as those whom separated themselves from the ways of the world (1 Peter 2:9). They were authentic because this demonstration of separation was prophetic in and of itself. The words they spoke were known to be true because they lived out the life that they preached. This is only achieved by separation unto God. Firstly because you have to be with Him to be like Him and hear His voice. And second, if you live your life like the world, which is “contrary and opposed to God, then what gospel will you be presenting to them?
Salvation brings a new life (John 3), not a continuation of the old one. The old is dead and “behold all things are new.” This means that you are different and separated from them. Their god, whether they know it or not, is the prince of the air. Our God is the Prince of Peace. They are not friends, they are two opposing kingdoms (2 Corinthians 6:14). Therefore, if the life that you live both in public and in private is a demonstration to the kingdom of darkness that the kingdom of Light is alive inside you, and that the hold of darkness is relinquished on your life, then you will be known in both heaven and earth as other, separate, and prophetic. The prophetic life is a different life; it is another life, a life of separation. The prophetic ones are the separate ones.
The Prophetic Ones
If you compare what the Scriptures describe as someone who is prophetic and then compare that to someone that we call prophetic today, then you will have as a result, two totally different outcomes. What we see today is not the life of a prophet that we see describe in Scripture. With that being said, we are in a restoration process of the gifts being manifested again in the proper place in the body of Christ. Men and women who are prophets are returning to their proper function in the church. As the gift is being restored; the understanding, maturity, fulfillment, and fullness of the gift is being restored as well. This is happening as those with the gifts begin to understand, mature, fulfill, and walk in fullness themselves. Then we will understand to a greater degree of revelation what the essence of the prophetic is.
Because the gifts have been largely dormant for centuries, except for a remnant in the Body of Christ, there will be people who try to step out into a prophetic call, and call themselves prophets, without even knowing what it means. Be it that they are genuinely seeking truth, they may emerge as prophetic ones. In the restoration of these gifts, we must guard against trying to move into the giftings with our flesh, our “human hands.” This will only create a counterfeit and bring confusion to the church. The enemy will try to lessen the impact of the restoration of the truly prophetic with theses false pretenses of what it is to be a prophet and prophetic.
Hated yet Respected
The comparison of the true and the false will display two radically different outcomes. The prophets were hardly ever like and mostly hated by people. They hated them because they knew that they were the prophetic ones. The words that they spoke would come to pass. People wanted to pretend that their relationship with God was fine and intact. The very presence of the prophets exposed that it was not.
Even with the hate came respect. Ahab hated yet feared Elijah (1Kings 18:17). Ahab knew that Elijah had prayed and it did not rain for three years. He understood that Elijah was a prophet. Even among the believers there was respect. This was not because they were on a pedestal, but because God was moving through them. Obadiah was afraid to tell Ahab that he had found Elijah, because the Spirit of God might have carried Elijah away before he could return with the king (1 Kings 18:12).
The Mad Men
Elisha, the prophet, sent one of the sons of the prophets to anoint Jehu as King over Israel (2Kings 9:1-13). This prophet runs up to these soldiers who are camped. He says that he has a word for one of them and then he takes Jehu inside to anoint him. After the prophet spoke the word, he fled. When Jehu came out his men asked him “Is all well, why did this mad fellow come to you?” “And he said to them ‘you know very well the man and his talk.” (v 11) Then he told them that he was anointed king, and then men honored him as such and prepared to heed the rest of the words of the prophet.
Some guy runs up and anoints another guy king, and something actually happens. This would not be possible unless it was truly prophetic, the will of God. Some “mad” man calls him king, and not only does he respond, but the rest of the army does too. How would this situation look today? Some guy full of the Holy Spirit runs up to some sergeant of commander in the army (or anyone else for that matter), and hid men, and anoint him president of the United States of America: What would the response be? “You’re crazy!” Exactly! However, if it is the Spirit of God, the classification of crazy or mad would not be the result of a lost mind, but of a person that was so yielded to the Spirit, that is was know that he actually spoke for God. That is the essence of the prophetic. Look what happened. They acknowledged him as king. A revolution occurred that overthrew the evil pagan government. A national revival took place.
True and False
These men did not need titles. They did not need to call themselves prophets because they were prophets. They did not need to call themselves prophetic because they were prophetic. Flip through a Christian magazine or watch Christian television and see how many people call themselves prophets (even apostles). Go to a Christian bookstore and you will find the same things. I do give some benefit of the doubt because we are growing in the restoration of theses gifts and in the understanding of the prophetic. However, many may be counterfeit. Jeremiah had to deal with false prophets. People will be drawn to those who prophesy what they want to hear (Jeremiah 5:31). Some say that they hear from the Lord, but He did not speak to them, they are prophesying illusions. (Jer 23:25-40; Isaiah 30:10). Some are even prophetic liars, fortunetelling rather than speaking the truth, regardless of the reality and consequence of that truth (Jer 27:10). They are not separate, they are not mad. They do not want to be these things because they want to be “in” with the crowd and are more interested on pleasing men than God. You will recognize them by their attitudes, fruits, holiness, the testing of the spirits, and because you know the will of God (I Peter 1:5-11; Matthew 7:16; 1 John3:8; 4:1-3; Rom 12:2). You have to be mad to be truly prophetic. Look at the lives they lived in Scripture. The separation of the true and the false may seem similar, however the ones who are real will usually be the title-less ones (though a seasoned prophet may use it in truth), who are only concerned about the Word of the Lord sounding forth.
But if I say, “I will not remember Him or speak anymore in His name,” then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire shut up in my bones; and I am weary of holding it in, and I cannot endure it. Jeremiah 20:9
This next verse is an encapsulation of the prophetic essence…
Therefore, thus says the Lord, “If you return, then I will restore you-Before Me you will; and if you extract the precious from the worthless, you will become my spokesman. They for their part may turn to you, but as for you, you must not turn to them.” Jeremiah 15:19
To Be a Prophet
If you have the gift of prophesy, it does not automatically mean that you are a prophet. A prophet lives a prophetic life (as such as we have been describing). That is his vocation. The Word of God is his being. The logos and the rhema manifesting day to day as one lives out his life. I am not negating the gift of prophesy for the function of the prophet. All prophets will prophesy, but not all who prophesy are prophets. A prophet’s entire life and existence is consumed with these things. A prophet will speak prophetic words. A word in correspondence with the truth of God’s Word according to the unfolding of His eternal plan through the advancement of His kingdom in the generation of which the one lives that will reverberates throughout the ages and generations to come. This will directly apply to the fulfilling of the plan itself, which the word coincides with.
To be a prophet is to live out the word that one speaks. Thus his vocation is the prophetic word and his life will testify and exemplify a reflection of that which is spoken. To a degree of revelation in the light of Scripture, this “prophetic office” is the constitution of the prophet himself. He will be the person through which the conjuring of the gift becomes a ministry. This is not a title but an existence and calling; a relationship with God.
The prophets are always consumed with the Word of the Lord. It is their function and reality. The Word becomes them and they become part of that Word. The Word is their identity and their identity is the Word. They’re speech is the Word. They do not have to be quoting Scripture, but when you speak with them, the Scripture just comes out in their speech. The essence of the prophet is the essence of the Word. And the application of that Word in accordance with present revelation is what makes them prophetic.
As was said previously, just because one prophesies, that does not automatically make them a prophet. Paul said…
“Pursue love and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.” 1 Corinthians 14:1
When one prophesies, it may make him prophetic to an extent, but not necessarily in the office of a prophet thus far in the fulfillment of his calling. We should all desire to prophesy and be prophetic. All of us have different callings that will add in the fellowship and the edification of the Body of Christ. Again we hear from Paul…
“Now you are Christ’s body and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. All are not apostles are they? All are not prophets are they? All are not teachers are they? All are not workers of miracles are they? All are do not have gifts of healings do they? All do not speak with tongues do they? All do not interpret do they? But earnestly desire the greater gifts and I will show you still a more excellent way. “
1 Corinthians 12:27-31
Here we see a picture of the gifts and callings of the church. Some are seasoned ministers walking in mature giftings and some are just starting out in their gifts. Paul then says that we should desire the greater gifts. Discipleship is a process of maturing into your calling in God and in the gifts He is giving you to fulfill His call.
Today you may prophesy and tomorrow you may be a prophet. All of us should prophesy. If you are an apostle, you will prophesy. The same goes here; just because you can prophesy though, does not make you an apostle. In all the gifts, your life becomes the call. The call is not just another aspect of your life. It may develop into greater calls of servant hood, but at each level, it will define you. If I am a true evangelist, it is not because my minister’s card says that I am. It is because God has put this call and burden in my life, and I cannot help but spread the Gospel everywhere I go. Remember Jeremiah, the Word, which is what he was called to speak, was like fire inside his bones. If you are genuinely called by God, (All of us are!) then as you grow, that gifting will surface and your character will adjust so as that fire will burn bright in you. [All that I have talked about here could determine or characterize you as prophetic and you may yet still walk in another calling besides a prophet. I believe all believers can walk in such a calling of giving their lives completely over to God, even in the aspects described in this study.]As for a prophetic person, he does prophesy, but it is more than that: His whole life is a prophesy. He in himself is a prophetic voice, preparing the way of the Lord. O that we may prophesy! O that we may become prophetic! O that we may arise as prophets to all creation! O that all of the gifts will be restored in fullness to the church!
Prophetic sight is sight unseen. Faith is required to see things that are not there in the natural and makes them manifest through the creative power of believing in God. (ref Hebrews 11:1; 27; 1 Kings 6:15-17) Another word used for prophet was “seer.” (1 Samuel 9:9) Prophets see what others do not. They see what the will of the Lord is and His plan to bring it to pass. They see the unseen. They see what is really going on. They see what others miss. Prophetic sight can be missed by spending too much time focused on natural sight, and little time spent on spiritual. One light will shine in your life; will it be the natural light of the son’ or will it be the Supernatural Light of the Son?
David saw that God was much bigger than Goliath while others were blinded by the enormous size of Goliath (1 Samuel 17). Peter saw God’s view of Jesus and not men’s (Matthew 16:13-16). Learn to see what God is doing in every situation. This is how to grow in and become prophetic.
When I was in a youth discipleship group, our youth pastor asked us to write down what we saw God doing in our lives each week. This, along with journaling thoughts on Scripture, helped me to see things not with my eyes but with my spirit, at the world and helped me to develop my spiritual sight. We should be more moved by what we do not see than what we do see. “They” say “seeing is believing, “but I tell you this Believing is Seeing!
Over the years, I have gotten pretty good at certain things simply by looking ahead. If I drop something, I often catch it because I move my hand to where the object is falling toward and not to where it is at. By the time I get my hand to where the object was, it has already moved. If I move ahead of it, then my hand is there waiting to catch it when it comes. Also, I have been able to avoid obstacles on the road by always looking ahead and knowing the constant roadside terrain. (This is all God given and of His glory.) This is how we must look at Scripture to accurately discern certain things. If we try to over analyze the latest headlines, we may miss the proper prophetic understanding of the moment.
Many today interpret the Scriptures according to the times rather than the times according to the Scriptures!
Many call themselves prophesy teachers; and some do not even believe that the gift of prophesy is for today. They are just news predictors and advantageous journalist. Seeing prophetically is just like looking ahead in the spirit to see where the object is moving toward, because you know the history of where it has been. Times are not a commentary for the Word, the Word is a commentary for the times. You mustn’t look at television reporters as prophetic scholars. To accurately understand the times is to accurately understand Scripture and its application to the times, and what the application will mean for the times to come prophetically.
“Now these are the numbers of the divisions equipped for war, who came to David at Hebron, to turn the kingdom of Saul to him, according to the Word of the Lord.” 1Chronicles 12:23
David is getting ready to become king and men from all over Israel were coming to him, who were equipped for war. Then there is a list of all these awesome warriors. Interestingly right in the middle of the list, there is almost an interruption…
“Of the sons of Issacher, men who understood the times, with the knowledge of what Israel should do, their chiefs were two hundred and all their kinsmen were at their command.”
1 Chronicles 12:32
These men may have been warriors, but they seemed to be something different. They did not fit in the bunch. However, they were of great necessity to the lot. They understood the times. Not only that, they knew what Israel should do according to that knowledge. This is deep. I do not claim to understand its full intention as it applied in David’s day, and much less, ours. Yet there is some insight that can be obtained. What is an army without those who understand what the army should do? What is a kingdom without those who understand what the kingdom should? What is a church without those who understand what the church should do according to the knowledge of the Lord in application to the times? I do not possess the answers, but I tell you this, we must be in prayerful considerations of these things if our hearts are to see the church reach its prophetic fulfillment.
Let us find a way to turn the keys of the kingdom in our hands, and set in motion the fulfillment of that which we are described in Scripture, as already having done in Christ!
Prophetic insight and understanding comes from prophetic knowledge of the times in which we are living. We must look at what we are moving towards to prophetically “catch” what the Lord is doing. An eternally conscious mindset will have understanding in the present. A present mindset will understand little eternally. All things are pointing toward Christ and it is the church’s calling to make this known.
“He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to the kind intention which he purposed in Him with a view to the 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.” Ephesians 1:9-10
The prophet can be the one in a meeting that looks “other.” Everyone else seems to be entering in and he is a “stand alone,” looking “foolish.” Unless you are in a truly prophetic and apostolic atmosphere and fellowship, this will probably be the “norm” most of the time. A counterfeit looks great until the genuine is present. A people, a meeting, a situation, can be great and even seem as if it is right in God’s plan; but when someone who is truly prophetic, who is moved by the unseen, not by the current action taking place, shows up, there is a contradiction. It is a reaction between spiritual powers. At this point, the prophet is usually rejected. However, acceptance may come as well. This is often the call of the prophet; an exposition of the facility, a tearing down of what should not be and the building up of what should.
“Having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the chief cornerstone…” Ephesians2:20
Thus is every situation we should operate in the knowledge and wisdom of God to be prophetic and discern that which is real and that which is not. A prophet will display the “mood” of God in every situation, regardless of whether it fits into “what’s happening” or even if it seems like everyone else is right. [Now a prophet is of course in proper function part of a apostolic team that are accountable to each other and God, as they grow into that which they are called to fulfill. (Eph 2:19-22; 4:11-16) This is not an extensive study on the administration of the ministries in the church, just a small group of thoughts relating to propheticness.]
Conclusion and Recommendations
The prophetic ones live a life that exemplifies the Word and displays the heart of God in the midst of His people to build them up and release them into their calling. He is moved by the observation of the unseen and only then makes application to the see. Let us all consider, reach for, and grow in the fullness of the prophetic; so that there may be a church and a people that capture the essence of prophetic truth. “A church that is not prophetic is not the church,” as our brother Art Katz so intuitively prescribes to us.
This is a deep and vast subject worth insurmountable volumes of study and absorb-tations. We have only touched on the fringes of developing the understanding required, which is only ascertained when we come before God as little children. This is only a standpoint for me in compiling my thoughts on the matter, which I am sure those who read could take any sort of direction on. So I will say as I started, I am no expert, but I do feel some revelation of the prophetic is intertwined within this and I pray in Jesus name that the true element comes forth and your spirits may be edified.
For further study: Read Prophetic Ministry, T. Austin Sparks; also The Prophetic Call, and, Apostolic Foundations, Arthur Katz (Also read, listen to, and download anything you can find by Art Katz concerning the prophetic.); Listen also The School of the Young Prophets, Making Up for Elijah’s Mistakes 1 &2, Fire, Sign of Jonah, Bob Gladstone (All of his teachings have a prophetic perspective). These are points of view for the paradigm of which I approached this study. There are other prophetic books you can read that analyze the prophetic from different POVs. Quick suggested authors: Rick Joyner, Steve Thompson, Graham Cook, Abraham J. Heschel, David Ravenhill, Leonard Ravenhill, and David Wilkerson.