Acts 2:17 – 19 And it shall come to pass in the last days saith God, I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions and your old men shall dream dreams. And on My servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of My Spirit; and they shall prophesy. And I will shew wonders in heaven above and signs in the earth beneath.
~ Spoken to the Prophet Joel!
Are you wondering if we have entered a new phase or opened a new chapter of the end times? Are you looking a little harder into the scriptures for answers to some of the uncertainty we’re experiencing worldwide right now? Have you wondered if this was designed to prompt a turning back to God because His coming is near?
Me too, but for me it’s a certainty. I don’t wonder, I know it. God has said to me it is time to stand up and count and to stand and be counted. Let me explain that statement. Part 1. Stand up and make a difference, do something for His Kingdom (make my work count) & 2. Stand up and be numbered in the army of Christ against the evil so rampantly and blatantly, openly destroying this world and humanity (be a warrior for the King in this battle!) Count and be counted. God has told me it is time to make a stand so, I am going to tell everyone who will listen; and trust in Him to bring the understanding. I will do the work set before me with a glad heart!
The end times began with the Crucifixion and Ascension of Christ to heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father. We are told to make ready for the bridegroom, that He comes like a thief in the night; we know not when. Christ has not only urged us to be ready for His return, He sent His Holy Spirit to comfort, guide and teach us. He shows Himself to us in signs, miracles, dreams & visions. All of creation cries out in testimony of Him, the Creator! Who else makes the earth shake, moves mountains and continents out of their place? Who else controls the ocean’s waves from gentle laps on the sand to hurricanes and tsunamis? That is a mighty power! That is a MIGHTY GOD!
God has, since time began sent prophets to speak His Word to us; to turn us back to Him! Some of the Prophets He has sent throughout history, Old Testament and New: Jesus! greatest Prophet that walked the earth and the Son of God, Joel, Ezekiel, Daniel, John, Malachi, to name a few of the known and accepted in scripture. But what about today? The Bible was written a long time ago. Are there Prophets now, in this time, to speak to us; to turn us back to our God? Or did prophecy end when the Bible was finished being written? Are we out here groping in the dark, grasping for lifelines, lost in our unsurety and lack of understanding?
God told Joel, He would do this in the end times: Pour out His Spirit on all flesh, and cause His people to prophesy. He did not say for 200 years or for 1000 years, He said in the end times. The end times began with the Crucifixion, and it ends with Christ’s 2nd coming to redeem His people and judge the earth. Well, here we are in the end days. Where are the prophets?
Let me ask you, if someone came through town dressed in sack cloth, loudly preaching and proclaiming ‘the end is coming, repent, God speaks to me and this is what He says.’ How are you going to react? What if they came naked? Or laid on one side for a year, saying God directed them to do this? Or speaking against the established government for their destruction for their deeds? How quickly are you going to stop and listen? Or are you going to walk on by and dismiss them as nuts or zealots, mentally ill? These were things the ancient Prophets did at the direction of God. True, times have changed since Moses came down off the mountain with the 10 Commandments on stone tablets written by the finger of God, but God has not. We (human beings) are far more cynical and jaded now, not attributing to God His rightful, righteous place and power.
It was far easier in Jesus’ day to identify a Prophet. Religion was a main focus of peoples’ lives in that day. People knew and observed the religious practices of the day. A person’s God was the main point in life. Humanity in general does not have that focus anymore; we have fallen so far from God. Focus has become self and now that we are seeing the effects of this pandemic, many people are rethinking the scriptures and reaching out to a patiently waiting, long suffering, God for His help; for a Word to let them know He loves them and longs to save them as much as they long to be saved! Would this be the time, that the God who loves us so much would withhold His word or His Prophets from a dying world? Absolutely not!
Prophets are not as easily recognized today but that does not negate the fact that God sends us Prophets in this day. He has told us so! If you’re unsure, go back to the beginning and read the verse! Just as in Jesus’ day, Prophets, true, Godly Prophets must be qualified, vetted, so we are not mislead by the false prophets, agents of the Anti-Christ, that are indeed already in the world.
2 John 1:7 For many deceivers have gone out into this world who do not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an Anti-Christ.
1 John 4:3 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God. Every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Anti-Christ which you have heard was coming and is now already in the world.
So, the spirit of the Anti-Christ was already in the world then, (actually, same serpent that mislead Eve in the garden) how strong are his powers of deception this many centuries later? One example; the abortion rate in our country alone, is staggering. How is this different from the child sacrifices in that day to demonic idols of wood or bronze? Those demonic sacrifices are now just blatantly to the idols of self indulgence, selfishness and a self-centered mind and heart. All demonic influences. All demonic idols. But this is the spirit of the Anti-Christ on a mass scale. This mass deception by the spirit of evil, the strength of the Anti-Christ’s spirit in the world, can ONLY be overcome by an ALL MIGHTY GOD! And HE has told us not to fear!
John 16:33 In the world you shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer (do not fear!); I have overcome the world (the sin and forces of evil in this world!)
These were the words spoken directly by Jesus! Jesus went to the cross to overcome the world; to overcome sin and evil! GOOD NEWS! THAT IS GOOD NEWS!! Likewise, He is pouring out His Spirit upon us to recognize and rebuke the spirits of evil, to come together as His family, as His body, in His Spirit; to strengthen, to teach, to love, to care and to direct each other to Him as our sustainer, our life!
We do not need this world to sustain us in Christ.
We need Christ to sustain us in this world!
And, in Him bear the good fruits and use the wonderful gifts we have been endowed with through His Holy Spirit!
For those of us already walking with God, this is probably already plain. But for the seeking Christian; here are the traits you exhibit through the Spirit of Christ when He comes to you, when you repent and accept Christ as savior and allow His Spirit to dwell in you. These are the fruits you bare as a good tree! A true Prophet will bear these good fruits as well.
Matthew 7:15-20 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
So what are the fruits of the Spirit? What are the fruits of God’s good trees?
Galatians 5:22-26 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness (meekness), self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
Therefore by their fruits you will know them. (for emphasis.)
Those are the fruits but what of the gifts the Holy Spirit endows us with? Let’s look at:
1st Corinthians 12:4-11 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
So, all of these gifts are given to whom the Spirit wills for the absolute benefit of the body of Christ; His people. Each of these works in unity with and tempered by the fruits of the Spirit.
1st Corinthians 12:12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many.
And these gifts are for His church and are particularly ordered for function by His design.
1st Corinthians 12:27-28 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.
Not everyone will have the same gifts. If we did what would that profit the church? But the Holy Spirit endows and manifests these gifts to whom He will separately and for a duration known to Himself. Some will walk in their gift for a lifetime and some are given the gift for a moment chosen by the Spirit. Either way, it is an honor that we do not deserve, can not be taught, nor can any person boast that it is of his/her own doing, as these must be gifted by the Spirit of God!
Each gift is specifically defined but for this discussion, we are focusing on Prophecy and Prophets. So prophecy is:
The direct words of God, spoke to and through a human being to communicate God’s message to His people as He directs. It is prediction of things to come or a special, specific message from God, that indicates His divine will on earth and in heaven. This comes to a person as a revelation through the voice of God, or an angel, a vision or in dreams. God alone decides the timing for the fulfillment of prophecy and it may be for an immediate time or for a future time unseen as yet. It may or may not be seen in the lifetime of the prophet but will nevertheless, come to fruition. Daniel and Joel both were shown the end times including things we have not yet seen but their physical bodies are long gone, and their spirits and souls in paradise with the Father. That does not make null the prophecy because it was not from the men. It was through the men by the God who is not bound by time or human frailty. It is His declaration and His word does not return to him void. It accomplishes what He set it forth for.
Isaiah 55:11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
A Prophet is the one whom the Holy Spirit has chosen to hear and to reveal the Word of God, and speak it to the people. Prophetic appointment and authority comes directly from God, through His Holy Spirit and the message is HIS. It is a call to faithfully proclaim God’s words and not one’s own.
It can be a hard gift to understand and recognize in others or yourself. So how do we recognized a true Prophet of God when someone brings us a message? How do you recognize prophecy outside of what is written in the Bible and decide if the bringer is genuine or a false prophet?
Here are 10 Qualifications of a Prophet and then, 7 Points of Prophecy that each will fulfill. Let’s start with the 10, (Now, I did not write these 10 but did expand on each one as I felt the agreement to them.) and we will end with the 7, (and I DID write those with the direction of the Spirit).
10 Qualifications of a Prophet
1. Preaching or speech that exhorts and strengthens the disciples. (builds the spiritual life of believers, encourages and strengthens.)
2. Character that is true, honest, faithful and holy. (Character that always points to Christ and the Prophet knows they are held to a higher account by God)
3. Message does not appeal to the flesh but to the spirit. (Challenges and stretches the spirit in faith. This may be uncomfortable for some as it brings one under spiritual conviction.)
4. Prediction and fulfillment of prophecy. Speaks the words of God and it comes to pass. (May be to a group or an individual but will not be vague, but specific in nature and clearly fulfilled with measurability.) Fulfillment is a clear sign of God having raised the Prophet to His calling. (must not be the ONLY qualification as Satan is the great imitation and great deceiver).
5. Spiritual discernment in the lives of others. (Has the ability in the Spirit to discern the spiritual reality in the lives of others, good or bad and speak to that reality.)
6. Declaration of divine judgement when needed. (Prolonged rebellion, disobedience, refusal to heed prophetic warning and lack of response to the call for repentance will ultimately lead to God’s judgement.)
7. Willing to suffer for speaking the truth without saving self. (Maturity in the surety! It is an occupational hazard of speaking the truth for God. A true Prophet is not afraid to suffer for the truth, for the Word and work of God.)
8. Message will ALWAYS be in harmony with the Word of God and the known Will of God. This is a BIG one. True prophecy will never contradict the Word of God. It is revealed through the Holy Spirit of God and thus can not contradict Him. (if a message seems to contradict , stay quiet (direction for the prophet’s use!) and test the spirit in bringing it. Clarify or discern! Satan is a great deceiver and a master counterfeiter!)
9. Employment of symbolic action. (Sees how things are done in the natural world and applies that to the spiritual. Illustrates through painting a picture (understanding), in the mind of the hearer. Jesus did this WELL! but He has firsthand knowledge of how it all works!)
10. Ability and Authority to judge the manifestation of prophetic gifts. (Identify and judge prophetic gifts in others and more pointedly, identify and recognize other prophets, both true ones and false ones.)
When you come face to face with someone claiming prophetic gifts and messages, you can look at who they are and how they function; examining the prophet and the message. Here are 7 key points that Prophecy will exhibit.
7 Points of Prophecy
1. Prophecy is the divine word of God, spoken through a person chosen of the Holy Spirit, that require action and fulfills His plan. (the words of God for NOW: immediate action (repentance or change), and for LATER: to secure or avoid what is coming; blessing or judgement.)
2. Power! Ultimate power lies with God. Man is His beloved creation, into which He breathes life. He gives and He takes away. All power is in the hands of God. Prophecy is powerful.
3. Proxy. God chooses to work through men or women to achieve His plan, to bring forth His Word to affect the hearts of mankind to turn us to Him; to seek His face and His presence.
4. Performance. There is a performance of the things spoken of the Lord, when He speaks thru His Prophets; good or fearful; for blessing, for reproach, for direction, for teaching and exhorting and for the conviction and discipline of His people; His children; for the world: believing and unbelieving.
5. Proof! Through the performance of His prophecy, we are presented irrefutable proof of His existence, love, power, jealousy, anger, longsuffering patience, of an Almighty God. He shows Himself to all the world, believing and unbelieving through His work (performance) and His Word (prophecy).
6. Plan. He reveals to us His plan for our lives, our future, our salvation or destruction, for things in heaven and things on earth, for things in His kingdom, through His word (prophecy) and His work (performance), for OUR benefit; to bring us into a right relationship with Him BEFORE He comes to judge the world.
7. Peace as the result of surety. We can be sure of our salvation, of our relationship with our God, of our future, even in the coming tribulation, because we have the Son! We have the guarantee of our redemption because we believe in Him; in His sacrifice for us and put our lives in His care, surely knowing we are saved and none can take us out of the mighty hand of the Lord! Jesus told us He leaves us His peace. So assuredly, all we have to do is listen, repent and accept the gift graciously given and turn our lives to Him and He saves us. There is not greater peace.
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
~ Jesus, The Christ
Now, it will be easier to recognize a Modern Prophet and Modern Prophecy. Always pray for confirmation and stay in the Spirit, whether you, yourself are a prophet or you are identifying a prophet. You will not be fooled when you know and heed the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 1:13-14 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, whom is the earnest (guarantee/promise/down payment) of our inheritance until the redemption (by His blood on the cross and His final coming!) of the purchased possession (His beloved children), to the praise of His glory.