Prophetic Admin - 8
In this section we will be looking at the various issues involved with correctly applying the true revelation that has been received. There is an anointing for the correct application of a revelation and it is different from the anointing to interpret or receive revelation.
The application of prophecy involves asking the following questions: What? Who? Where? When? and Why?
1) What? This refers to the prophecy itself - what should be done with it? Should it be shared at all or should it be held back?
2) Who? Should it be shared to an individual, a small group, leadership only or to the congregation?
3) Where? The most appropriate setting - should it be shared from the pulpit, behind closed doors, in small groups, in homes, etc.?
4) When? Should it be shared during the believers only prayer meeting, during the Sunday services, after certain events have occurred, etc.?
5) Why? Are the benefits from sharing or not sharing worth it? Do the people concerned need this revelation at this time?
With regards to application of prophecy there has been the normal tendency to tell everybody now. The main reason being the motivation to be seen by the public and so earn credit or status or admiration from the hearers. An individualís pushiness (an unbroken vessel) to get the microphone - that is the give away of this incorrect motivation. One should be willing to lay down the revelation at the feet of the leadership and let them determine its application.
There is need for the revelation to be judged by the leadership especially if its meant for the congregation or if it is likely to substantially affect the well-being of another person.
The Pastor should not be intimidated by the prophets and vice verse. On the contrary, they should work actively together to ensure that ALL revelation that the Holy Spirit has given is applied to its fullest intent and purpose for the benefit of those concerned.
There should not be prophetic overthrow of leadership. That is, when a prophet finds that the revelation that he gets is rejected or held over by the leadership, he should not incite the congregation to overthrow the leadership in order to force access to the stage.
No prophecy should be exercised with strife or anxiety. This would be in violation of Divine order because the anger of man does not work the righteousness of God.
Affirmation and Restraint are the two important words in prophetic administration. Leadership must affirm to the prophet when they receive a true revelation but, they must also restrain the prophet until the correct interpretation and application have been determined. Without initial affirmation, the prophets are likely to interpret 'restraint' as rejection and suppression leading to "prophetic wars" with the leadership.
Those who utter prophecies must realise that under the New Testament there is open accountability to the rest of the body. You cannot, therefore, go around prophesying but denying any responsibility for the consequences whether good, and in particular, when itís bad. If the prophecy proves false then there must be full acceptance of responsibility especially if the person to whom the prophecy is directed suffers any type of injury through that false prophecy.
The prophetic ministry has lost a great deal of credibility because too many people have been too keen to utter prophecies without accepting the responsibility to make amends should they prove wrong. Often people are driven by the obsession to be like God without realising that God was prepared to die on the cross for the suffering of humanity.
IMPORTANT NOTE ON PROPHECIES OF REBUKE AND JUDGEMENT
The prophetic ministry in The Church to-date has had a notoriety for prophecies of judgement and rebuke. While this is Biblical for those in the prophetic office to exercise, nevertheless, there has been considerable abuse leading to much damage to the lives that were meant to be blessed. The primary reason has been the lack of understand that:
a) Before rebuke or judgement there is always a merciful warning. Jesus said "I desire mercy and not sacrifice". All things must be done in love, and the person who is being prophesied to must be made to fully appreciate that this is genuine love not a cover up of a secret vendetta or jealousy. It is the bounden duty of the prophet to ensure that love is the real motivation.
b) The Scriptures clearly show that in EVERY case that a rebuke or Judgement was prophesied the Lord God has always offered a solution or way out of the impending judgement. It is, therefore, the clear responsibility of the prophets to ensure that before they prophecy judgement that they must also have sought God's face for a clear way of escape for the person concerned. The prophet must be an intercessor. If God gives him a prophecy of judgement only, than he must do as Moses did on Mt Sinai, and interceded for God's mercy and grace to abound towards His people. The prophet must, therefore, intercede until he gets another prophecy that clearly offers an escape route - that is the true love and compassion approach of prophetic maturity.
When one receives a prophecy for their life from a prophet, for example, a calling to ministry, they must NOT immediately act on it. The Lord is giving them a forewarning (advertisement) of where He is leading them. The person MUST SEEK FOR THEMSELVES a confirmation from the Lord. Prophecy does not absolve a person of personal responsibility to seek the face of the Lord for themselves.
Lack of personal diligence will lead to disappointment and offence at God for "failing to fulfil" the prophecy. Alternatively, there is disillusionment which could lead to backsliding.
It is important to check and make sure that your own ambitions do not drive you to accept any prophecy simply because it closely matches it. Make sure you receive a definite confirmation from the Lord which is independent of your ambitions, before you try to run with ANY prophecy.
Our focus in life should be to live a life that is obedient and pleasing to the Lord. This is very important because a lot of people's ambition is to do something big in life and therefore have made themselves "suckers" for flattery and lying spirits through false prophecy.
1) If it is something confidential for a person of the opposite sex, you must FIRSTLY communicate it to the leadership, preferably to someone of the same sex as the person the prophecy is intended for. For example, if you are a male and you get a true personal prophecy for a female, then you MUST FIRSTLY communicate it to the female leadership. They will then judge that prophecy and communicate it to the relevant person or you can tell the person in the company of the female leadership.
2) If you get ANY personal prophecy that would lead to a very radical change in a person's lifestyle such as moving house, changing jobs, significant financial commitment, etc., you must FIRSTLY share that with the Pastor/leadership in order to ensure that a thorough judging of the prophecy is done objectively, with the help of scriptural principles, before that person receives it. There has been a lot of damage done through personal prophecies given to people in some private location WITHOUT the knowledge or approval of the pastor / leadership - THIS PRACTICE MUST STOP.
We must be wise as serpents but harmless as doves. We must not give opportunity to the devil by ignoring Biblical principles in the name of: "God has given me this prophecy for so and so, and it is none of the pastor's business since it is not a church related matter". This is the voice of the demon of rebellion, deception, pride and destruction.
3) In the case of a general word of encouragement, exhortation and comfort, you should share this in an open area in the company or earshot of other people. You must then ask the person to either confirm or deny the value of that prophecy to them so those around will be clear witnesses. One must never feel threatened by having to let other people judge their prophecy because it will help to protect both the person giving the prophecy and the person receiving it from what could be tragic if not judged by third parties.
4) If the person you shared the prophecy with denies its relevance, that is, you have got it TOTALLY wrong; then it is very important to admit, on the spot, that you may have missed it and to offer an apology. This principle is mandatory to avoid arrogance whereby one feels that they can never be wrong - ONLY GOD IS INFALLIBLE.
5) If the person you shared the prophecy with denies its immediate relevance, but it is neither wrong nor right, that is, a prophecy about a future event, for example, that has no immediate application. In this situation you and the person to whom the prophecy is directed MUST write the prophecy down in detail, date it, and you must sign it. This will ensure that if it does come to pass you can be encouraged in your faith. If, however, it does not come to pass in a situation where some actual time was specified than you must accept full responsibility and openly apologise, to the person FIRST and then to the Lord, and then continue to diligently seek for increased accuracy in the gift.
Rules (1), (3), (4), and (5) for non-leadership also applies to leadership because of the fact of being human we must not give opportunity to the devil.
In the case of rule (2), the pastor should already be well trained to handle a "radical prophecy". By the correct application of Scripture, prayerful and close discussion with the person to whom the prophecy is directed, a pastor/leadership will be able to exercise Divine wisdom for the good of that person. In certain cases it is very wise to get counsel from other prophetically gifted persons to ensure objectivity.
Marriage Partner- Who should you marry?:
This is one of the oldest Divine institutions in the Scriptures and cannot therefore be taken lightly. It is also one of the areas where the prophetic, especially, in the last 30 years has suffered some of its greatest loss of credibility. There have been many a marriage "engineered" by a well meaning prophecy which has ended up in divorce, separation, or tragic state of bondage in a marriage that neither partner ever were or will deeply become convinced was really meant for them. There is a very good reason why this should be regarded as a NO GO AREA for prophecy.
There is NO BIBLICAL PRECEDENT AT ALL (except for Hosea and Gomer), in spite of the fact that there are several marriages that occurred with details of how they were "engineered". In EVERY case there was NOT A SINGLE PROPHECY given stating who was to marry who. NOT EVEN A WORD OF KNOWLEDGE!
Even in the case of Hosea (chapters 1-3), it was the word of the Lord to Hosea, HIMSELF, not through a personal prophecy from some other prophet. Moreover, this marriage was a Divine prophecy to the children of Israel about their conduct towards their relation with their God. This is hardly a biblical precedent for anyone to go on. It is an exception rather than the norm.
If personal prophecies were freely accepted, than the best example should have been in the case of Isaac. In this case, Abraham should have got a prophecy regarding who Isaac was to marry, BUT HE DID NOT. Instead, Abraham instructed his servant to make sure that who ever the wife was to be, she must be a Jewess from Abraham's kinfolk (Gen. 24:1-67). Other important people in the Bible who should have got a marriage prophecy but did not include: Jacob (Gen. 29:1-30 ); Joseph (Gen. 41:44 ); Moses (Exod. 2:16-22) ); King David( I Sam. 18:14- 30). Even in the case of Joseph and Mary, in the New Testament, they were already engaged before God openly confirmed that they were to marry. There are no other detailed recorded marriage arrangements in the New Testament that reversed the Old Testament practice in relation to the prophetic keeping its hands off.
In all the teachings on marriage in the Epistles, there is NO mention of prophecies in relation to choosing a marriage partner.
IMPORTANT NOTE: With the Bible setting the standard safe guard, it is possible for the Holy Spirit to give independent testimony, a word of knowledge, to another person about His endorsement of a relationship, but NO ONE has the right to force the issue. A word of knowledge is NOT a prediction, therefore, just because God may reveal to you that a couple have fallen in love or secretly attracted to each other DOES NOT mean that they will ever get married because it was a word of knowledge, not a predictive prophecy. The revelation MUST come independently, without any pressure whatsoever, to each partner from God just as it would apply to receiving a call to full time ministry - both are life long commitments with NO RETURN.
Your ONLY possible obligation should you receive a word of knowledge in this regard is to pray for the couple that they will hear whatever God's will is for them. You must not pray that your word of knowledge becomes a predictive prophecy and so be fulfilled because that is contrary to scriptural principles. A word of knowledge is information about past and present events NOT future events. Overly enthusiastic Christians have made grievous errors to the extent that they have even gone as far as convincing couples to marry without each of them getting personal and unbiased confirmation from the Lord.
The great tragedy of this is that should that marriage fail because the couple were indeed not suitably matched, it is highly unlikely that those who are to really blame will accept this heavy responsibility. It is most likely that the couple will be blamed for "failing" to make the marriage work and they must carry the guilt for the rest of their lives for something, they in their naivety had been pressured to believe was from God. Whoever is keen on match-making prophecies must be prepared to accept their full share of responsibility should it turn out to have been a false prophecy. This responsibility includes all legal, financial, and emotional ramifications because marriage is sacred, therefore, the Divine accountability is high!
Those who have the anointing for the office of a prophet, in particular, must be very, very careful not to unwittingly convert what is a word of knowledge into a predictive prophecy. Prophets, in particular, may get a constant flow of information about people supernaturally, covering every area of life because they have an anointing for it. This may also include a predictive prophecy about prospective marriages, but that does not obligate them to share it with anyone, NOT EVEN THE COUPLE. Some of these revelations are not meant to be shared but to reassure them that they have an active anointing, therefore, THEY MUST EXERCISE WISDOM AT ALL TIMES. It is likely that over enthusiasm and lack of self-control without application of wisdom has been the driving force behind this serious indiscretion.
Paul Cain, the well known prophet now in his mid- 6os, has revealed that over the years, over 200 different women were prophesied to be his wife! These were from well meaning Christians, but obviously from the soul rather than from God. The fact was that Jesus, in an open vision, had already personally visited Paul and asked him to live a celibate life when he was in his twenties, so everyone who prophesied was already wrong!
Another well known prophet, Bob Jones, has a reputation for knowing prophetically, in advance who is going to ring him over the phone, as well as their background, and what they are ringing about. This has caught some by surprise because they were exposed as having hidden agendas when calling him. With such gifting in constant operation so freely, it is not difficult to try to use it to predict who was to marry who in the church, but there are no documented evidences of him or Paul Cain ever having done so.
Wisdom based solidly on Biblical principles are vital to avoid permanent personal tragedies occurring in the church.
By corporate applications we mean the giving of true prophecy which has been correctly interpreted to the congregation. There are very important rules which need to be strictly adhered to, except in very special cases, whenever a prophecy is directed to the congregation and to be given from the pulpit. Many a good church has been decimated by the naivety of well meaning Pastors and leadership who failed their duty as shepherds.
The Pastors / leadership have allowed prophecies to be uttered from the pulpit which have been damaging to their congregation but they have failed to confront the prophet on the spot in such situations in order to judge the prophecy and correct them before the congregation. Since the prophecy was uttered before the congregation, it MUST therefore be judged BEFORE the congregation in order to establish publicly its authenticity. If this rule is not applied and the prophecy is damaging and proves to be so later, that 'prophet' would be, who knows where, having not been corrected he will go and do the same kind of damage elsewhere.
Leadership MUST NEVER EVER be intimidated by ANY prophet, even though the prophet has a well established and mature ministry with numerous supernatural signs attesting to his gifting. This is, particularly, mandatory when that prophetic person is not a member of ones own congregation - a visiting prophet. Because prophecy, unlike preaching, tends to be very pointed in its ministration to an individual or to the congregation it is either very damaging or very encouraging, immediately, to the person or persons being given the prophecy. For that reason, in the context of a congregation, it must be judged ON THE SPOT and the leadership must OPENLY, either, endorse it or reject it or hold it over for the sake of the congregation.
Prophets are not shepherds but watchmen. Pastors are shepherds not spectators. They must guard the sheep diligently without being over-bearing / over- protective or becoming controlling / domineering.
In the case where a prophetic word is received prior to the meeting of the congregation the prophecy must be given to the Pastor / leadership team for judgment to establish its authenticity, its interpretation, and its correct application. The leadership is answerable to God if they reject a true prophecy for the congregation just because it goads them or it treads on their traditional sacred cows.
The prophet is cleared of responsibility before God since he was faithful in giving the prophecy within the context of recognised Divine order.
Very importantly, all prophecy meant for the congregation and received outside of the meetings must be documented, dated, and signed to ensure accountability at all times. This will prevent false prophets or self appointed prophets from denying that they prophesied such prophecies.
As with the correct application of personal prophecies, the congregation must be taught to be discerning and not to immediately act on any prophecy until they have received further corroborating prophecies. This is particularly important when it means a radical change in lifestyles, or moving to another location which would involve relocation of families, individuals, the church premises, etc.
The congregation must themselves be taught and encouraged by leadership to seriously judge the prophecies, even though the leadership may endorse it in order to establish in their own hearts that it is from the Hoy Spirit. They also have the Holy Spirit who is able to guide them into all truth and testify of that which is from God. This is particularly important when the prophecy comes from one of the leadership team and/or resident prophet of the church.
"Scriptural Objectivity is the very essence of judging prophecy."
The leadership team must not feel threatened by the fact that the prophecies they are giving are being thoroughly tested by the congregation, if they have taught their congregation how to correctly test all prophecies with the Scriptures, putting aside their own biases and prejudices. They will be re-assured that the Holy Spirit will independently confirm to all, that what the leadership has prophesied is indeed authentic and they can act in earnest in obedience to the Lord.
This is the application of prophecy to those outside of oneís local church such as: the local community, the city, the state, the nation or nations. Also to non-Christians, local and international leaders, other churches and their leaders.
This area of the prophetic is more likely to be the forte of the office of a prophet rather than a person with the gift of prophecy. In such situations, especially prophesying to those outside the church, the onus is on the prophet to thoroughly do his homework and make sure the prophecy does comply with Scriptural principles before delivery. One must also be aware that the world is not easily convinced by prophecies without accompanying supernatural signs to attest its authenticity.
Without (and sometimes even with) supernatural signs to confirm the word the church will crucify you, but the world will only ignore and ridicule you. In some nations where there are recognised soothsayers and fortune-tellers, who are even consulted by local and national leaders for major political issues, you may have the believing audience you want. However, in such places the penalties can be great for false prophecies.
Prophets MUST submit to the leadership team in whichever church they go to minister. God has instituted a Divine order not based on levels of anointing but on Spiritual appointment and authority. That is, as a prophet God has given you a greater Spiritual anointing (see Beginner's Course) than the pastor, whose church you are going to minister in. Nevertheless, the pastor is the shepherd of the flock in that church, and with the eldership they form the Divine order in that church, therefore, you have no authority to usurp them. It is God who sets up and it is He Who will pull down, if the case need be.
The rules that apply for ministry both at a personal and the corporate levels in the prophet's home church must, therefore, apply wherever a prophet is to minister.
"Working together for the unity of the body and the common good of all the saints is the essence of prophetic applications".
The prophet should not be too wrapped-up in the revelation and interpretation so that he ignores caution and discretion when it comes to determining the correct applications. Otherwise, if the revelation does not come to pass he will be devastated.
The great danger for the prophetic ministry is the twin ambitions-
1) Ambition in the prophetic person leading to exaggeration of their revelation.
2) Ambition in the person who is given the prophecy so that they accept the false or exaggerated revelation and run with it without firstly seeking the Lord themselves for verification.
1) List some of the main reasons why there have been tensions in the area of application of prophecies? How can each one be resolved?
2) Is it possible to have a personal prophecy that could have a corporate application? If so, should it ever be shared with the assembly?
3) How much participation should leadership have in personal prophecy between two people?
4) What other areas do you think prophecies should either keep out or be carefully monitored? Why? What are the Scriptural reasons for doing so?
5) Why is accountability for the consequences of applying a prophecy very important?
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