God does not call prophets by lottery or random selection. When we only knew Him (Jeremiah 1:5) He decided our assignment to earth through the birth canal was #prophetic. In Christ, He chose us before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). He set our life’s path, our temperament and pedigree — all with built-in lesson to lead us back to Him.
In your world I am known by another name. You must learn to know me by it. That was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.
~ Aslan to Lucy, The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader
All are not prophets (1 Corinthians 12:29), but those set in the earth to discover this life exist in a parallel reality. We come from God to earth. We begin and end. In between, we remain strongly connected to God. (This is not exclusive; the same case can be made for all believers, especially the fivefold office gifts.)
What is noteworthy about the prophetic call — not the spirit of prophecy nor the gift of prophecy — is the timing of God’s release. This gets lost today with the popularity of the prophetic.
Prophets’ lives, when we allow God to rule and lead (and we obey), lead up to a time of release. This is the time God sets to use our voices to deliver messages to His people. Knowing God is strategic and not random, He trains prophets for many settings and audiences.
O Lord, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived: thou art stronger than I , and hast prevailed: I am in derision daily, every one mocketh me. ~ Jeremiah 20:7
Before the release to speak for God, there’s a final identity crisis that yields the “bottom line” submission to God’s will. About this verse Abraham Heschel describes Jeremiah’s “aha moment.” He says that with proper word study Jeremiah 20:7 reads
O Lord, Thou hast seduced me,
And I am seduced,
Thou hast raped me
And I am overcome. (The Prophets, © 2001, p. 144)
To know prophets is to understand how taken in we are by God. It is to know that for us, God draws us in like a courtship. He woos us, and we are enticed. And we #surrender. Then we are coerced, and undergo a violent taking of our lives for divine purpose. This final identity crisis comes for prophets to submit to God’s absolute dominion. (We don’t get to go in and out of God like some.) Herschel continues,
The call to be a prophet is more than an invitation… The prophet feels both the attraction and the coercion of God, the appeal and the pressure, the charm and the stress. (p. 145)
God works with prophets. He defines what I call our brand of the prophetic. Prophetic brand helps us identify our contemporaries, or those released in the same time with us. Today we may call this group our tribe. Brand markers include
He defines for prophets our core message. The core message serves as a set of lenses. It’s the base for how we see, hear, perceive and experience God’s burden. It is the theme we see when we study the Bible. God builds His message in the prophet until it becomes our life and bread.
…precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little and there a little… ~ Isaiah 28:10
While all this happens, God defines for His prophets their audience. He helps them know who they are, their condition when the prophet arrives among them, and how the prophet will be received or not (See Ezekiel 1-3). Prophets are sent to king and/or people.
Remember, God does not do random. If when we encounter prophets, we know they are in time with their release (not ahead of time and premature or immature) when their messages have a thread of continuity or a theme. We know them by the community; there’ll be other prophetic voices who release the same spirit of the message.
Prophets do not wander. They speak God’s mind to king or people and then they live out God’s decision with the people. They are subject to God in all things.
The question then is WHEN DOES GOD RELEASE PROPHETS. Prophets respond to cries for reform, and God dispatches them to a people or to a king in the earth (or David types who suffer in processes and under oppressive Saul systems with legitimate kingly anointing and authority). When there are cries for change, or attempts to repair and #restore, people come back to principle. They return to God’s Word. When they return, in that time God releases a prophet to illuminate the violations to God’s command and to point the way to righteous restoration. Then (in the days of old) and now, God calls prophets ahead of time, trains and retains them for a set time. This set time is when king and people seek reform.
This is why prophets, once settled on God’s absolute rule in their lives, speak about and interpret political events on local to international stages. They speak to and influence people at all levels of government. They seem to appear from nowhere in local churches, sent at crucial times to help establish government and order. They affect godly change — REFORM — for all people and creatively use opportunities and life experiences to connect people to God’s Word.
Service in the ministry of #intercession does not mean one is a prophet. Accurate prophecy does not make one a prophet. Audience and following do not make one a prophet. Reception by people and even their obedience to the prophetic word does not qualify one as a prophet. Sanction, licensing and ordination in the earth does not make one a prophet if heaven leaves no mark (affirmation is crucial though!).
Let’s be armed with this knowledge and develop an immunity to the false prophetic.
Let’s cultivate honor for the #authentic and thoroughly processed prophetic. Glory to God!
Selah, and love to all. Encourage the prophets. Inform the saints. Amen.
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