In the previous two articles we discussed some of the issues in the prophetic movement today which I call “shotgun prophecy”. This discussion came out of a dream I had at a time earlier this year when I was praying and meditating a lot about some of the issues facing the prophetic movement, especially ones involving the election and the future of my country, America. In today’s article we will finish the discussion on this issue talking about why it’s important to be able to “track” prophetic words while understanding at the same time that words can indeed be mysterious and take a long time to come to pass. I pray this has been a blessing to you.
IF THE WORD CAN’T BE TRACKED THEN HOW CAN IT BE JUDGED?
For this point I wish to include a portion from the recent document called “Prophetic Standards” that was drafted by Dr. Michael Brown, Joseph Mattera, and others in the Spirit-filled church. This is a document that was released to the public at the end of April this year. It was drafted and circulated for support from various leaders in the apostolic/prophetic movement (what some might call The New Apostolic Reformation Movement) as a response to the fallout from all of the election prophecies and prophecies at the end of 2020/beginning of this year. So many unhealthy (and in some cases abusive) behaviors and practices were exposed during this time, and leaders like Dr. Brown and others felt it prudent to draft a document containing “standards” for the operation and implementation of prophetic ministry happening in the church today, according to the Scriptures. I felt they did a great job at crafting these words about judging prophecy, while at the same time honoring the mysterious element of prophecy which is clearly represented in Scripture:
“WE BELIEVE that prophecies should first be tested by the Word, then if the prophetic word is not contrary to the Scriptures, it should be evaluated by other mature leaders. If a prophecy is given in the context of a local church, then mature leaders in that setting should evaluate it. If a prophecy is given in the context of a region or nation, then mature regional or national leaders should be invited to evaluate the word (see 1 Cor. 14:29; 1 Thes. 5:19-21). Those who refuse to have their words tested should not be given a platform.
WE UNDERSTAND that prophecies can be conditional and that many prophecies will take time to come to pass. We also recognize that prophetic language is often mysterious and symbolic, requiring interpretation and insight. This means that prophecies that do not contradict the Bible or that are not contrary to fact should be evaluated over time and not immediately rejected.
On the other hand, if a prophetic word is delivered containing specific details and dates in which the stated prophetic word will come to pass and that prophecy contains no conditions to be met in order to be fulfilled, and that word does not come to pass as prophesied, then the one who delivered the word must be willing to take full responsibility, demonstrating genuine contrition before God and people.” (1)
I felt the essence of these statements made by these leaders about the prophetic was very well worded and balanced. They give due honor and reverence to what I call “the artistic/mysterious” side of the prophetic, yet also call for judgment and evaluation of prophetic words, according to the Scripture. Each prophecy must be handled differently because no two prophecies are the same. Whether a prophecy is conditional or unconditional at the time that it’s given has to be taken into account, as well as several other factors, but ultimately while we embrace the challenge of stewarding such a unique and puzzling operation of the Spirit in the church, we still hold up the standards of the Word given to govern such an operation. How does this apply to what I’m calling “Short-barreled Shotgun Prophecy”?
When prophets today release shotgun words constantly (in some cases multiple times a day with hundreds of micro prophetic details in each word or dream) it’s like someone standing out in a field firing a shotgun in the woods and saying, “Alright, now go and track down all of the buckshot and see how I did”. The vast forest is likened unto the vast digital landscape that these words are shot out into everyday. Trying to track these words for accuracy is just as impossible as trying to track down all of the buckshot that’s been hurled over hundreds of yards, maybe even several miles, through a vast wilderness. But when you set someone up with a long barrel rifle, put a scope on that rifle, and tell them to aim at a target clipped to a board a hundred yards away, there’s no problem usually tracking the shot. If there are no holes that appear on the paper, then they have a busted scope or they’re a poor shot and need more practice. If they hit the target then you can see exactly how close or far off they are. The target allows the shooting to be both scalable and trackable. In other words it provides valued information and feedback for judgment and improvement, and it also tells you exactly where you’re at with your shooting accuracy. This is what we need in the prophetic movement today.
Prophets who have confined their prophetic words to the vast digital landscape of social media and who insist on producing huge volumes of words, which have hundreds of micro words within them, are like the people use the shotgun in the forest. These words can’t be tracked and therefore we don’t really know what is happening until they make a big enough blunder to be recognized. Some of the blunders recently in the prophetic movement have been so big that they’ve occupied prime editorial space in magazines like US Today and Newsweek, and not because the prophecies hit the mark.
A SIMPLE SOLUTION
The solution is simple… I call it the “Jesus Ministry Solution”. Let’s be a prophetic people that maximize on the prayer and contemplation end of the prophetic, and minimize some of the prophetic volume that we’ve been pouring onto to our facebook feeds for years. Jesus spent thirty years in quiet hidden devotion to the Father, immersed in prayer and intimacy with God. He spent only three and a half years of public ministry, prophesying and doing other things with the Father. Another name for that is the iceberg effect. His roots in prayer and intimacy with the Father went so deep that when He finally did begin to speak publicly it changed the world.
Prophets are not just called to be voices. At times they are called to shut up and be silent before the Lord and man. There are many examples in Scripture when the people came to the prophet for a “word from the Lord” and the prophet was silent until God spoke, which in most cases agitated the people who were inquiring. In some cases it took weeks, even years for God to speak, and finally when God did speak only then did the faithful and disciplined prophet say what God was saying. Today we have a hungry beast to feed called “our facebook prophetic ministries”, and the way these platforms are designed with such a crazy amount of stimuli and competition between creators, people are starving for fresh new content all the time. Add to that the fact the so many people are starving for a Word from God, starving for spiritual nourishment, it puts an immense amount of pressure on prophets who operate in these spaces. That pressure is often felt daily by a prophetic ministry. It’s the pressure to create fresh and engaging content to keep the followers happy and keeps the monetization money flowing from videos and posts. If a prophet is not very disciplined and mature in the Lord then they can find themselves cranking out nothing but shotgun words to feed the beast and keep the online engagement high. When we stoop to this level we’re already on the path of Balaam and it’s only a matter of time before the donkey is breaking our foot to save us from the angel’s sword. Our highest goal in the prophetic should be to engage the Lord, not people. If we engage the Lord at a high level, our engagement with man will follow according to his plan and purpose, and it will be the Word of the Lord that we’re releasing to the people, not just endless prophetic fluff.
SACRIFICING THE SHORT TERM FOR THE LONG TERM
In our culture today (which includes the church) nobody likes to wait for anything anymore. We’ve been aptly named the “microwave generation” and it’s true. We don’t want to prepare a nice meal from scratch and enjoy both the preparation, the cooking, and the eating of the meal (which is pleasurable and rewarding in all phases). We want to just pop it in the microwave and be eating within minutes with no preparation and minimal clean-up. We don’t want to go into the restaurants and order many times, so we go through the drive through. In the church we don’t want long term solutions for complex problems facing the body of Christ or the nation. We want quick fixes that satisfy our flesh but don’t really address the issue. As it is today in society so has it always been on the earth. It is a part of human nature which must be overcome.
When Moses was awakened to his destiny to deliver the children of Israel from the chains of Egypt, he quickly rushed to kill a man in order to satisfy that desire for a quick solution (Ex.2:11-13). But you know the story. As quickly as he slayed that Egyptian is as quickly as he fled, and it took forty years for him to make it back and actually get the job done. Moses saw the deliverance in a moment in his spirit, but God saw a process of forty years. Delivering the people by the power of God was the easy part. Taking forty years for God to do in Moses what he needed to do on the backside of that desert so that He could become the leader that Israel needed… that was the real work.
When Israel first entered into captivity under Babylonian occupation the people despised Jeremiah but loved prophets like Hannaniah (Jer.28). Why? Because Jeremiah was a long barrel prophet and Hannaniah was a short barrel one. Hannaniah prophesied a short exile for the children of Israel (three years total) and a swift judgment for Nebuchadnezzar. Jeremiah prophesied a long exile and bondage (seventy years), and the people hated him for it. Eventually Jeremiah was exiled to Egypt for what the children of Israel deemed “unpatriotic prophecies” concerning the nation. Sound familiar?
Today, the Hannaniah prophets, the short barrel prophets, prophesied a swift judgment for the evil socialist democrats, and a quick fix solution through God’s Cyrus President, Donald J. Trump. Those who have spoken differently and have focused on longer term solutions for the massive problems facing America have been labeled “unpatriotic” and “lacking faith”. But the short barreled Hannaniahs have been exposed. Their prophetic blasts concerning the 2020 election hit nothing, and just like with Hannaniah the short term fluffy breakthrough words for the nation didn’t shake out. Just like with ancient Israel we’ve gotten ourselves into a real mess as a nation which has required the Lord to turn us over to the Chaldeans (The Marxist democrats in league with China). We’ve gotten ourselves into a real mess which has required the Lord to turn us over to Nebuchadnezzar (Joe Biden). These are serious complex problems which will require much more than a quick fix. Like the prophets of old we must widen our gaze, put a demand on words which give us perspective for the long term, and raise the standards when it comes to tracking accuracy in the prophetic. I myself ask for no quarter to be given in regards to some of my own words which I’ve released in the past that follow a similar pattern. At times I myself have gotten caught up in the prophetic frenzy, feeling the pressure to release daily words when at times I really didn’t have much of anything from the Lord. But I’m taking responsibility and raising my own standards. Don’t take this as a preachy indictment being given from a self-righteous perch. I think many of us have found ourselves here at one time or another, especially if you feel your ministry has an emphasis in the prophetic. We all need to ask the Lord for grace to sight-in our guns and be the accurate trustworthy sharp shooters that we’ve been called to be.
WHO ARE THE POLICE?
The last thing which I want to address concerning this dream which I had is the police officers who raided the compound. As I stated previously, I believe the compound that was locked down represented the ministries that were locked in to their prophetic predictions and were going to hold down the fort for as long as they could, claiming it to be the result of things like faithfulness and true faith in God’s word. But what we all must remember is that God has created this arena which we call the world! He makes the rules! He has hung the universe on certain laws which cannot be denied, and things have a way of being exposed when they need to be. God’s laws have a way of restoring balance and equity when things are out of place. I believe the police officers represent God’s law, administered by His Spirit through his invisible kingdom which is at work all around us all the time.
I believe there are certain spiritual laws which dictate the operation of the prophetic, both long term and short term; certain laws which govern the flow of the church from movement to movement and from generation to generation. One of those laws is the law of stewardship. We all will be called upon, whether in this life or the next, to give an account of how faithful we’ve been with the gift God’s given to us. The Master always returns from the far away country, and He always comes to his servants to see which ones were faithful with the talents He entrusted to them before He left.
I believe that in the prophetic movement today, especially in America, certain spiritual laws of the prophetic have been broken. I believe certain Scriptural principles have been violated, and the Lord has broken into this movement and has called many of his prophetic servants to give an account. The microscope has been placed on the prophets, just like the police officer closely inspected the rifles that the people were carrying in the compound. God has brought a charge against these prophets. The Lord wants long barrel rifles instead of the short barrel ones. God wants accountability in the prophetic, not a constant barrage of scattered words impossible to track and judge. God wants humility in the prophetic so He can entrust us with the next level of this precious ministry in the earth. Will we submit to his dealings presently so we can qualify for this next level in the future? For the good of the church and the nation, are we willing to trade out or short barrels for the long barrels and respond to the Lord’s correction in this hour? The answers to these questions will tell us a lot concerning the future of the prophetic movement, especially in the west. May we receive grace in this hour to humble ourselves beneath the mighty hand of God to prepare for his exaltation which is sure to come!
In His Service,
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