Prophetic Admin - 6

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ADVANCED   COURSE

INTRODUCTION

 In dealing with the subject of Prophetic Administration, it is very important that the students of prophecy must cover the essential areas of: Correctly judging the revelation, determining the correct interpretation and, correct application.

There is a different anointing for each of the above areas. Not everyone who receives, for example, a vision or a dream, has the anointing to interpret or correctly apply them. As we shall see in the Scriptures there are clear examples to show that these anointing are different. By contrast, most people think that since they are the ones who received the revelation therefore, it automatically means they have both the interpretations and applications.

 A lot of the ill repute that the prophetic has earned has been a result of an appalling level of ignorance in these three areas. As a consequence, Satan has to-date scored major victories against The Church by using ignorance to turn what is meant to be a powerful supernatural tool against him to become his own weapon of mass destruction amongst Christians. God ordained, and faithful leadership in some churches have been destroyed, families have been split and scattered, people have been misled to marry the wrong people- all because of a lack of ability to correctly discern that which is true prophecy from the false, as well as appropriate applications for the various categories of prophecies. 

This Advanced Course on the prophetic ministry assumes that ALL the students have adequately grasped the "Beginner's Course". Without the proper foundations presented in that course, one is just as vulnerable to becoming unwitting tools in the hands of Satan because all Spiritual ministries work within the context of the Body of Christ where certain scripturally prescribed relationships must exist and function.  Everyone before proceeding further must read again, if need be the beginner's course so as to ensure that The Church begins to get out of the shallowness that is so prevalent. 

The Advanced Course will get into the "nitty-gritty" of how revelations are received, the different ways they are received, the Scriptural mechanics of analysing the revelations to determine their interpretation and finally determining how to correctly apply the revelations. In this section, we will also deal with the scriptural approach to judging prophecy and determining their true origins- godly or otherwise. The section titled- "Other Issues" goes on to other prophetic ministries that have either not yet been addressed or adequately addressed in The Church.

 During this course, there will be workshops to encourage everyone to exercise their giftings, and to apply all the principles of prophetic administration being taught. There are also discussion questions at the end of some chapters which can either be for homework or workshop or general discussion during the lectures. Again, as in the beginner's course, the questions address issues that may not have been adequately presented in the text but are important to the understanding of  the prophetic administration. The lecturer is again well advised to have answers to the questions before the relevant lecture.

 

PART II - REVELATIONS

CHAPTER 11

Introduction

 There are nine categorised ways by which God reveals His will prophetically as evidenced in the Scriptures. Students of prophetic administration must not only understand what these are but must memorise the essentials because either they will at some point of their life experience these modes of revelations or come across them through some other person's experience.

In dealing with spiritual matters one has to fully understand that God is a Spirit Being (John 4:24) and that man who was created in God's image is therefore a spirit being (Gen. 1:26-27). Man is a spirit, having a soul, living in a body (I Thess. 5:23).  To contact God, man must of necessity look into the spirit realm. The Lord Jesus, before his death promised that he would send the Holy Spirit who would dwell in the believer (John 14:16-18, 26). This would therefore ensure that all His children (John 1:12) had close intimate relationship with God Himself forever.  

To ensure that not only will intimacy be very close, but also communication be without possibility of interruption He has made us His habitation through the Holy Spirit Baptism. We have become temples of the most High God (I Cor. 3:16-17) and we can now get to know from God "..the things that have been freely given to us by God." (I Cor. 2:12-13).

We will now look at various ways in which God communicates from the spiritual ream to the physical realm for our benefit and His glory.

 Num. 12:6 reads,

Then He said, "Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the Lord, make Myself known to him in a vision, and I speak to him in a dream"

 

What purposes do they serve? 

All the different ways in which God communicates serve to teach, direct or guide, warn, encourage and / or comfort, build faith and / or confidence, exhort, and rebuke. It is therefore important for us to always consider all the possible purposes for receiving any revelation rather than only one purpose. Many Christians have suffered unnecessarily because of someone who received prophetic revelations only viewing the purpose of prophecy as for warning of impending judgement. 

An Illustration from Dreams:

 The following example of what a particular mode of revelation,

dreams, can be used by God for is applicable to any other mode of revelation whether they be visions, trances, inward witness, audible voices, face to face encounters, interpreted tongues, etc.  

1) When we dream, our conscious mind is asleep and along with it our logic to rationalise the events, experiences and thoughts. God can by-pass our logic and preconceived notions and other obstacles of our conscious mind. He can use dreams to get through to us, when all other avenues of approaches such as hearing the prompting of the Holy Spirit, reading Scriptures, etc. fail to communicate. 

2) Another reason for hearing from God in a variety of ways is safety.

 ·        Proverbs 11:14,  "in the multitude of counsellors there is safety."

 3) God used dreams/visions as a Warning:

 ·        Genesis 41:14-32 (Joseph's Interpretation of Pharaohs dream)

·        Matt 2:12-13 (The wise men were warned not to go back to Herod, and  Joseph to flee to Egypt).

 4)         God uses dreams to Build Faith and / or Confidence:

 ·        Judges 7:9-11; 13-15 (Just before Gideon's battle with Midianites and aftermath of it)

 5)         God uses dreams to give Encouragement or Comfort: 

·        Matt 1:20-21 (Joseph directed to proceed with marrying Mary).

6)         God uses dreams to give Direction or Guidance:

 ·        Matt 2:19-23 (Joseph is directed to return to Israel)

Joseph received divine guidance in his dreams on several occasions. God led him at key points by communicating to him during the night seasons.  

Note: There is never any mention of Joseph receiving any other form of guidance such as visions, audible voices, trances, etc.

 Dreams are still valid today because God still wants to speak to His people and will use methods in the Scriptures. Malachi 3:6 "For I am the Lord , I do not change."

 God created man and gave him the ability to dream . He has demonstrate the use of dreams through the Bible and He is the same yesterday and today . Has He suddenly change that He no longer does this ?

 NO.  Receiving dreams is an indication that God is pouring out His Spirit in these last days upon men. See Acts 2:17]

 What about the Occults?

 The Occult is only a counterfeit of the genuine supernatural manifestations of the Kingdom of God. The occult encourages its followers to meditate, that does not stop us meditating on the Word of God.

They also believe on a trance like state, it does not stop us from seeking the presence of God though. Peter also went into a trance while seeking God through prayer just before he was sent to the Gentiles.

The occult also endorses fortune telling and supernatural guidance. The Kingdom of God manifests itself with powerful spiritual gifts like the word of knowledge, word of wisdom and prophecy.

We must know that the devil only counterfeits the genuine and important and it is time for Christians to take back what belongs and was given to them by God, instead of sitting around and arguing.

 There is nothing new about people seeking the occult to answer their dreams.   In Daniel 2:3-6, when the King was troubled by his dreams, the court magicians wanted him to tell them so that they could interpreted it

 Let's not make the mistake of seeking others like the occultists, or psychologists to interpreted our dreams. They could not do it in the days of Nebuchadnezzar and they'll miss it in our day also.

 When hearing from God in an unfamiliar area like dreams, He would expect us to seek His confirmations. God will give convincing proofs that He is speaking to you in the night seasons.

Are we a Seeker?

 Hebrews 11:6 , "He who comes to God must believe that He is , and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him diligently."

God loves a seeker and He delights in having us seek His ways.

 Matthew 7:7 "ask and it shall be given... seek and you shall find ....."

 Proverbs 25:2, "It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search out a matter".
 

EQUIPPING OURSELVES

1)     Be cautious as you learn to receive guidance through dreams

Discovering a truth may cause us to act prematurely. We need to know that God has a speed limit. An alert believer will find that God places signs in his path for spiritual direction.

 Need to move slowly when following guidance received from dreams.

 As you begin to hear from God in this area, don't get too confident as you're learning and as you get initial success in interpreting the dreams, don't take unnecessary risks.

 Dreams can be complex in nature. Need to start with basics first and slowly move onto more complex ones. Proficiency is developed with time and experience. 

There must also be caution in how you share your experiences with others (see Daniel 7:28) and example of Joseph (Gen 37:5-11). Need to use discretion in sharing experiences with others.

 You can open yourself up to deception and error when you just rely on dreams (Hebrews 1:1-2). God speaks to us in a variety of ways. Scripture says that "a dream comes through much activity" (Ecclesiastes 5:3) Dreams may spring up from much activity of our day. You need to be sure that you are following only God-given dreams (Jeremiah 29:8)

2)     Do not rely on dreams alone for guidance, especially when making major decisions and when first learning to hear from God in this manner.

An example of this can be taken from Scripture

A vision during prayer : "I was in the city of Joppa praying; and in a trance I saw a vision. "(Acts 11:5).

A word spoken to him by the Holy Spirit. :"While Peter thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him, 'Behold, three men are seeking you." (Acts 10:19).

The arrival of three men who asked for him : "At that very moment, three men stood before the house where I was, having been sent to me from Caesarea" (Acts 11:11).

The testimony of a devout man: "And he (Cornelius) told us how he had seen an angel standing in his house, who said to him, 'Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon whose surname is Peter, who will tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved." (Acts 11:13-14).

The demonstration of signs and wonders: "While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also." (Acts 10:44-45).

 Remembering the word of God ."Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, 'John indeed baptised with water, but you shall be baptised with the Holy Spirit.' (Acts 11:16). 

Even from this example of a trance during prayer, we can still see that all the information led to the same conclusion. We can see that God can also use dreams to give initial guidance, interim guidance, and confirmations. 

Initial Guidance: When he was seventeen years old, Joseph received dreams that one day he would hold a position above his family .(Gen 37:5-11).

 Interim Guidance: Jacob received a dream that God will bless him with many descendants and bring him back to Bethel. (Gen 28:12-22). After serving his uncle Laban for twenty years, Jacob received another dream that directed him to return to his father's land. (Gen 31:11-13).

 Confirmations : Gideon lacked confidence that God could use him to rout the Midianites. A dream bolstered his faith in God. (Judges 7:9-15).

 We need to develop the skills in hearing from God in the variety of ways that He speaks to us. 

3)     God often uses familiar terms to speak to you about spiritual things

That is to say that God may use situations, events, and people in your dreams that are familiar to you. But use caution as you develop your skills in receiving guidance from God-given dreams. This is because the languages of dreams are largely symbolic and can be easily misinterpreted. 

Objects and events used in dreams can also mean different things for different people, as your understanding and experience develops, you can begin to work out some of the symbolisms used in them.

 4)     Most dreams should not be taken literally.

This is a very important rule. We have to refrain from this otherwise, we might misinterpret and get confuse about the dream.

 The language of dreams is highly symbolic. Learning to think symbolically requires time and conditioning and we must train ourselves to do this. Dreams in the Bible nearly always needed to be interpreted.

See Gen 40:8 ; Daniel 2:36 ; Judges 7:15]

The Holy Spirit uses symbolic language in visions and dreams. We see this throughout the Bible and that the different pieces and symbols have meanings and interpretations.

Example of Gideon overhearing the dream in Judges 7:13]

 As you begin to receive dreams, you'll have a natural inclination to interpret them literally. Immediately after receiving the dream it always seems so real, but it is good to wait a few days, especially with dreams, and then you'll find that it is easier to understand the symbols and interpret them.

 Note: This is not the only way that God speaks through dreams, he can give a literal dream. Sometimes if a message is given in words, it may mean that the message verbatim.

5)     DO not allow confusion or fear to overwhelm you as the result of a dream.

Don't allow yourself to be torment by a dream. If you give place to fear or confusion, you open yourself to unclean spirits. That is not God's will for your life!

2 Tim 1:7, "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind."

I Cor 14:33, " For God is not the author of confusion but of peace." 

If you fall into this frame of mind, it will interfere with your ability to hear from God. Even if you receive a dream as a warning, its purpose is to help you, not to scare or confuse you.

6)     Guidance received through a God-given dream will never contradict or violate the counsel of the written word of God.

Any direction that you receive that encourages you to sin or violate the precepts found in the Bible is erroneous, and you should not follow it. God also warned His people regarding this in Deuteronomy 13:1-4.

People have fallen into sin when they believed they were being led by the Spirit of God even though the guidance they received from the dreams clearly contradicted the word of God. 

So do not chose to ignore the written word of God that has been given to us as the best discerning tool (See Hebrews 4:12).

 It is important to note that whether we're accepting the counsel of a friend, discerning what we've heard in prayer, or pondering the meaning of a dream, we must check all guidance against the written word of God.

 

STARTING OUT

 1)     Ask God to speak to you in dreams

James 4:2, "You do not have because you do not ask"

Matt 7:7-11, "Ask and it shall be given unto you........" 

It is perfectly alright to ask God to speak to us in a variety of ways and this includes dreams. 

2)     Expect to receive

We need to expect to receive it. Expectancy is a part of faith.

Matt 9:20-22 The woman who was healed when she touched Jesus' garment.

Acts 3:1-9 Peter and John told the lame man to look at them and he did and was expecting to receive something from them.

Place a book and a pen next to your bed /nightstand and expect Him to speak to you (Faith without works is dead - James 2:17) 

3)     When you wake up be still for a moment and see if you can recall a dream. 

In order to understand this part we look at Zech. 4:1-2, where Zechariah was awaken by an angel and asked what he had seen in the dream. Note that Zechariah did not see the lamp stand until he looked. This is why many people do not receive direction through dreams from God because they don't look. The angel was sent as a reminder to him to look upon waking up. And when he did, he remembered the dream with clarity.

 Sometimes we might just wake up during the night, we need to ask ourselves could God have awakened us? Try to recall a dream from your memory. Sometimes it may be vivid, sometimes it may appear faint. Sometimes you can recall only a little piece at first, but as you meditate on that piece other pieces might come back to you and the dream can be reconstructed. 

4)     Record each dream and date it. 

If you are serious about receiving dreams from God, then you must develop the habit of always writing and dating the things you receive during the night seasons.

 Daniel 7:1 shows that this is a scriptural practice.

 Some dreams are very vivid; others are faint, but even the most vivid can be forgotten by morning (Isaiah 29:7-8).

 Some dreams are very vivid and easy to recall upon waking but some are not.

(Daniel 2:5 King Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams trouble him but he could not remember it.)

 God's word also warns us that dreams can be quite elusive.

Job 20:8 "He will fly away like a dream, and not be found; yes, he will be chased away like a vision of the night."

God may give you guidance in a dream that would not apply for a period of time. Daniel's vision pertained to thousands of years in the future (Daniel 8:17; 10:14). 

Discussion questions

1)     Why is teaching on guidance through means other then word of God, ones conscience, or circumstances almost unheard of in the Church today?

2)     How does our awareness that God in fact speaks through a wide range of means give us comfort against the enemy?

3)     Can you recall one or more dreams or visions that have served one of the purposes of revelation discussed above? 

4)     Give an example of a dream or vision or prophecy that you have either received or heard of that violated scripture although initially it was not apparently destructive but later proved to be so.

5)     Give an example of a blatantly destructive prophecy or vision, etc. that you have encountered or received from someone (No name dropping!). Explain how it violated Scripture and what was the effect or potential effect? 

6)     How can you assist someone, who has been seriously hurt by a destructive prophecy and does not want to have anything more to do with it, to change their attitude?
 

CHAPTER 12 

I.    An Inward Witness

1) The Holy Scriptures (Spiritual illumination - 'Rhema')

In II Tim. 3:15-16, it reads:

 "....the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work."

The above Scriptures clearly show us that the word of God is able to make us wise for salvation. This is achieved through its ability to give us sound doctrine, reprove and correct us, and instruct us in the way of righteousness. But in order to be able to accept this sound doctrine and discipline as children of God and true disciples we need to firstly receive supernatural enlightenment or illumination (Rhema) in our hearts and minds by the Holy Spirit.   

In Eph. 1:16-23, Paul offers up prayers for the Church at Ephesus,  " that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened.."

 The Holy Scriptures are themselves prophetic and revelatory in nature. They are of no human origin but are from the Holy Spirit and "we do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place,.." (II Peter 1:19-21). 

2) An inward verbal thought

 In the story of the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15) we read that   "he came to himself.." (verse19), -- that was revelation through his inward thought process, and much reflection about his present plight and what he was missing out on. This type of revelation brought him back to his family, and it typifies the kind of verbal thoughts that the Holy Spirit can guide our minds to think in order to draw us back to God or lead us in the paths of righteousness. 

Contrast the above type of verbal thought and the one in the parable of the rich man whose field yielded an abundant crop, found in Luke 12:18-21.  In this case it says in verse 17,

"And he thought within himself, saying, "What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?.....".  He's solution, unlike that of the prodigal son, was to focus on his own earthly security and selfishness and therefore not being drawn closer to God. The origin of this revelation was not godly and it led him to destruction.

3) A still small Voice (An external audible voice)

 Revelation can come through a still small (delicate whispering) voice as with the prophet Elijah at Mt Horeb (I Kings 19:12). This is an audible voice, external to oneself, which is very quiet or "still" compared with strong wind, an earthquake or a fire. When Elijah heard the still small voice he covered his face. It is more likely to be heard in a quiet place (if not solitary) rather than the hustle and bustle of life's activities.  In Isaiah 30:21, the still small voice will guide us in the paths of righteousness: "Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way, walk in it," Whenever you turn to right hand or whenever you turn to the left."

 Note: Contrary to common teaching the still small voice is NOT your conscience because when God speaks to you through your conscience you do not cover your face since it is an internal experience. If, however, you heard an external voice speaking to you from the Lord, you are very much more inclined to cover your face out of reverence and awe.

4) A Burden (oracle, prophesy) - non-verbal witness (A strong impression)

 The Holy Spirit will also give revelation by placing a burden in the heart of the prophetic person. This is in contrast to hearing the words or seeing a vision. It is clear that the Holy Spirit is willing and able to use all the human senses and emotions to give revelation. The prophecies of Isaiah 13, 15, and 17, for example, were non-verbal witnesses of what God wanted to proclaim. Also see Ezek. 12:10, Malachi 1:1.

 II.   A Prophetic Utterance (words spoken without pre-meditation / forethought)

1) Words in a known (tongue) language

 This mode of revelation is more likely to occur when the Spirit of prophecy falls upon an individual or group of people. This occurred in                   

Num. 11:24-30 when the seventy elders of Israel all prophesied. Another instance was in

I Sam. 10:10 when King Saul met a company of prophets, and the Spirit of prophecy likewise came upon him and he also prophesied. In the New Testament, we see this occurring with Elizabeth when she met Mary, she was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied (1:41-45). Also Zacharias, John the Baptist's father, prophesied as a result of the Spirit of prophecy coming upon him (Luke 1:67-79).

 2) Words in an unknown (tongue) language

 In I Cor. 12:10, it reads, "....to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues."  These two gifts complement each other to produce a revelation that is as significant as any other mode of receiving revelation since the church can be edified through it. This is stated as so in I Cor. 14:5, which reads, "....for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks in tongues unless he interprets, that the church may receive edification."

Discussion questions

 1) What is the main difference between Logos and Rhema? Why must Christians come to a full appreciation of this difference?

 2) What is the difference between the tongues received at Baptism in the Holy Spirit and diversities of tongues?

 3) What do Rom. 12:1-3 and Phil. 4:8 recommend to help us improve our thinking habit so that the inward witness came be more clear?

 

CHAPTER 13

III. Dreams

 Dreams are a series of thoughts, images and emotions that occur during sleep.

In the Scriptures dreams are also referred to as night visions.

 Daniel 7:1 reads, "In the year of Balthazar King of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions of his head while on his bed. Then he wrote down the dream, telling the main facts. "

 Job 33:15-16 reads, "In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls upon men, while slumbering on their beds, then He [God] opens the ears of men, and seals their instruction"

 Acts 2:17 reads, "And it shall come to pass in the last days," says God, "That I will pour out of My Spirit upon all  flesh ; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams."

 There are two types of dreams:

 1.      External Dreams

 Comprise 2 - 5% of our dreams. These are about outside events that have to do with your nation, church, other people. Usually these dreams are given to us as warnings to pray and we should be obedient to them.

 2.      Internal Dreams

i) Healing dreams  

            They bring forgiveness and healing towards somebody. Brings love and forgiveness.

            ii) Flushing Dreams

Dreams that help us get rid of garbage that has entered our minds through what we have heard or seen in the mass media. We get them because of the world that we live in and the garbage that we get from it. It is a repulsive form of dreams that we don't want to tell anyone about (e.g. marrying your sister, homosexuality, winning a large some of money from gambling or illegal drugs sale, murdering a close friend in order to get his possessions). This could be a form of dream that God uses to flush that stuff out of our system and cleanses us from it, so we won't have anything to do with it in real life.

            iii) Calling Dreams

The types of dreams that God tells us what He wants us to do. It is a call or anointing that is going to come upon you.

iv) Warning Dreams

Dreams that warn you of what is going to take place in the future, both good and / or bad in order to help us be adequately prepared with the right responses which are crucial for our well being.

            v) Dreams of Condition of oneself

Where you are standing before God and He tells you the condition of your life, good and bad. These are meant to encourage, exhort, edify or rebuke you for your current state of spiritual well being.

            vi) False Dreams

Where you dream and they aren't from God at all. It is from the enemy and they try to get you to do something that you don't want to do at all. They try to get you to do something that you feel comfortable with in your flesh but something in your spirit just does not receive it.

            vii) Body dreams 

The condition of your body can also determine your dreams. This can happen, for example, when you eat too much and you get an upset stomach (Pizza dreams!); eating wrong things; pregnant dreams; drug abuse dreams. Physical condition will cause the body to produce some chemical reaction that serves as a stimulus for the dreams.

3.      Trances

Trances are experiences where either spiritual translations occur in which the spirit of a person involved is taken to another location so that God can show them His purposes, or their physical consciousness is temporarily suspended so that their spirit can be shown things in the spiritual realm. 

Examples of these include: Paul's experience of going to Heaven (II Cor. 12:1-4; Peter's experience on the rooftop (Acts 10:10-15); Daniel 8:15-18 and 10:7-10; Ezekiel 3:14-15; 8:3; 11:5.

4.      Visions

1) Inner spiritual visions (mental image/imaginations)

Inner spiritual visions are Holy Spirit inspired mental images or imaginations that are very similar in character to the way we ordinarily think. The difference is that these have their origins with the Holy Spirit who is endeavouring to reveal the purposes of God to us.  This method is probably one of the most difficult to discern without the development of a very keen sensitivity to the Holy Spirit moving within our spirit. 

Without sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, one is very vulnerable to think that revelation that they got this way was only their imagination playing games. Alternatively, they may think they are brilliant people who have unusual natural gifting or talents, thus becoming puffed-up. 

            2) Closed visions (when eyes are closed)

These are optical or visual images much like a Television or film which appears in front of the person while they have their eyes shut, either during prayer, worship or meditation. The images may be in technicolour or in black & white.  

They may be still (non- moving) images or may be mobile or a combination. They may be very short in duration or long. Some may be like a silent movie or may be complete with sound.

The person receiving the vision may either be a observer from the outside, so to speak, looking in or they may be a participant in the events occurring within the vision, that is, they may see a mirror image of themselves within the vision. Finally, they may actually have an interaction with the vision itself - much like interaction with the concept vision-phone that is still being developed in the communications industry. 

            3) Open visions (when eyes are open)

An example of this is was that of Elisha who saw with his eyes open the supernatural hosts of angelic armies of God encompassing the city of Dothan and prayed that his servants eyes be opened to see as well (II Kings 6:17). As in the case of a closed vision the various aspects of it are the same.

5.      Tangible/Physical Encounters - Face to Face

 This type of revelation was also used in biblical times beginning with Abraham/Sarah's encounter with the Lord and two angels. This was face to face, and very much a physical encounter because Abraham offered them food and they ate while Abraham stood by (Gen. 18:18). Then there is the physical encounter which Moses had on Mt Sinai where he saw God face to face and his countenance was transfigured.  Also see I Kings 19:5; Judges 6:11- 21; 13:20

In the New Testament, Peter who had been imprisoned was set free at night by an angel (Acts 5:19-20). In Acts 12:7-11, Peter who was again imprisoned gets rescued by an angel of the Lord. This time the Scriptures tell us in verse 9 that as Peter "went out and followed him, and did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision." Also see Luke 2:10, 13. 

6.      Physical Translation

Just as may occur during a trance when the person's spirit is taken to a different place so as to receive revelation, so the same can apply for the physical body. It is possible that God can take an individual and supernaturally transport them to a far-off location "in the twinkling of an eye" in order to reveal to them something.

In Acts 8:26-40, after Philip had led the Ethiopian eunuch to the Lord and baptised him in water, the Scripture reads in verses 39- 40: " Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went his way rejoicing. But Philip was found at Azotus. And passing through, he preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea."  In this instance, Philip's physical translation would have provided ample revelation to the Ethiopian that the God in whom he had put his trust was supernatural and true to His word. 

7.      The Prophet's Life

When we study the life of any of the prophets we are able to receive revelation that can change our lives radically. It is not just the way God told some of them to live in order to convey a deliberate prophetic message or parable (e.g., Hosea 1-3), but also their ordinary lives and God's dealings with them was revelatory. Jonah's three days in the whale proved to be prophetic of the Messiah's own experience in death. The life of Moses as the deliverer of Israel was prophetic of what Jesus Christ was to accomplish for all peoples. 

8.      The Prophet's Actions

Typical of prophets was to carry out some specific action to provide revelation to God's people. This includes the performing of miracles such as Moses did in Egypt to reveal to the Jews that indeed their God had heard their cry for deliverance and that he, Moses, was the one who had been sent to deliver them. This was prophetic as well because Jesus also did miracles to prove that He was indeed the Messiah and Christ that the Jews were waiting for. In Acts 21:11 Agabus, a prophet, by an action was able to reveal to those who were with the Apostle Paul, that Paul would be arrested if he went to Jerusalem. 

Discussion questions

1) Why doesn't The Church, at large, not teach or encourage its congregation to develop all the various modes for receiving revelations discussed?

 2) How many of these modes of receiving revelations have you experienced? 

3) Which one has had the greatest impact on your life? Why? Take care to differentiate between the actual subject of the revelation and the mode, either of which could have been the reason for its impact. 

4) Have the number of revelations increased since you became a Christian? Why or why not? 

5) Have you had a revelation were you have been told to go and act out the message? If yes - Was it difficult to act out?

 

CHAPTER 14

Reasons For Variations In The Clarity Of Revelations

 For those who have ever received visions and dreams you will be familiar with the times when the images were not as crystal clear in all areas. This can be a great source of frustration when you are trying to work out the interpretation to the revelation. You probably would have asked yourself why the revelation was not clear. The question is whether it was your failing spiritual eyes or the Holy Spirit deliberately being vague for unstated reasons. It is very important to address this issue because the answer may be yes in one case and no in another or yes in both cases for a particular revelation, but it depends on certain things. Below is a check list you may want to go through to help resolve this problem.

1) Clarity - Significance/Cost/Time factor

 There are two levels of clarity of revelations. These are: face to face physical encounters and non-physical revelations.

 From the Scriptures we find that face to face visitations from Heaven have occurred when God has wanted to set in motion a major history changing event.  These face to face encounters can be divided into two levels of significance:

When a Person of the God-Head appeared on earth, the existing direction of history was fundamentally changed. For example, when God The Father appeared on Mt Sinai, He gave the Ten Commandments which has fundamentally helped to change the course of history by being a significant guiding principle for the most influential societies on the earth up to the present. 

When Jesus Christ appeared He set in train the means by which the most influential religion in history would be established. This faith was to impact the whole earth with such force that whole societies' way of life and culture would be fundamentally changed.

 When the Holy Spirit appeared at Pentecost He became the power behind the history changing events.

 Whenever an angel appeared face to face or physically to an individual or group of people it was to either announce the coming of a Person of the God-Head who would fundamentally change the course of history, or to announce the enlisting of an individual for a task that would have a very significant impact on historical events, but it would not change fundamentally the course of history. Examples of these include the births of Isaac and Samson, John the Baptist, and enlisting of Gideon. Also angels appeared physically to assist people who were very crucial instruments to God in changing the course of history - examples include Lot, Elijah, Daniel, and Peter. 

The second level of clarity is in visions, dreams, trances or audible voices. These are non-physical encounters and have a diverse application and levels of significance varying from an individual’s life to that of significant historical events. The examples include: Paul's conversion, Peter on the rooftop, Paul in the ship that eventually sank, etc.

 Clarity of revelation is also used by God to convince an individual or individuals to obey His command regarding the difficult task ahead that He wants them to accomplish. This is true of Moses and the burning bush, Gideon's call to lead the people to fight the Midianites, Noah and the ark.

 A very clear revelation could also mean that it may take a very long time before the revelation comes to pass. Abraham had to wait 25 years before Isaac was born; Noah had to wait 120 years before the flood; Joseph had to wait 13 years before the prophecy about his family bowing to him came to pass; Moses had to wait 40 years before the Jews reached the promised land; prophecies about the coming Messiah/Christ were given about 600 years before Jesus' birth; Jesus waited 30 years before His ministry of salvation for mankind began to become evident; the Apostle Paul was in "the wilderness'" about 14 years after his conversion before he got the commission to the Gentiles.

2) For Emphasis of Certain Portions and / or Focusing Attention

 Virtually all-visual revelations have certain parts within them that have greater clarity than others. This is deliberate to emphasise the core of the message that the Holy Spirit wants to get across. Sometimes the background is blurred although the basic features are observable. Sometimes even the main subject of the revelation may not be clearly identifiable, for example if it is a person, although their part in the revelation is unmistakable and clearly understood. It is, therefore, very important when interpreting the revelation that you take into full consideration any variations within each frame of the whole revelation.

3) Unconfessed sins

 Sin has the effect of cutting off our communion with God and therefore leaving us in some spiritual darkness. This could, therefore, be reflected in our inability to see clear revelations. Sometimes, the Lord by grace may give us a clear revelation that will expose to us our true spiritual state and so lead us to repentance.

It is very important to realise that if we continue to live a life of wilful disobedience or unconfessed sin then we should do well not to take too seriously any vision or dream, etc. we get, without much testing because at that point we are deliberately stepping out of God's protective covering making us fair game for satanic visions and dreams. It is also important that Christians should test whether the person giving a revelation has a lifestyle consistent with the Christian faith otherwise they will be taking a dangerous position if they naively accept the person's "revelation". This test must be applied without exception, irrespective, of whether the person has an established mature prophetic ministry because it is very possible that a person can still go-off-the-rails at some point. If he is confronted and challenged to realise that his revelation violates Scriptures and that his lifestyle also violates Christian principles appropriate to his office, it may be that he will repent and so be restored.

4) Worldly / Soulish Communications

It should not be a surprise that bad company will pollute good morals as the Scripture so clearly teach. In the modern world of round-the-clock entertainment which is becoming more and more amoral, Christians are faced with the painful task of constantly having to sift through more and more in order to get an ever decreasing amount of that which is wholesome for their spiritual life. Without determination one is very vulnerable to being hooked on unwholesome entertainment.

For those who would develop their ability to receive more revelation from the Holy Spirit they are not given the choice. To indulge in such unwholesomeness is to pollute your symbolic language vocabulary necessary for interpretation of revelations. The barrage of evil words, scenes, and ideas will affect one's ability to have a pure revelation and interpretation. The Holy Spirit is unwilling to show your polluted mind anything. Examples of ways in which unwholesome communication occurs include: unwholesome TV, radio, records, magazines, books, video games, films, sports, places and people.

Discussion questions       

  What are other possible reasons for variations in clarity of revelations?

 

Published 2005

 

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