Defining Sin   5 comments

American-Christian-Nation

This is from the blog Real Christianity:

THE RESPONSIBLE PARTY

         Isn’t America supposed to be a Christian nation? If so, whoever wants to blame the government, lobbyists, political parties, and the great money powers as the cause of our current state is barking up the wrong trees. These entities merely stepped into a void that was created when American Christians vacated their place of responsibility. I’ve been saying this for decades and have been getting slammed by Christians for decades for saying it. I have now noticed that others are saying it. It’s about time.

         The facts are clear. There is only one responsible party for America’s decline:  Christians and the ministers they choose. Which Christians are most guilty? The Lord said this:

         “From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.” [Luke 12:48]

THE ELITE

There is no doubt there is an evil elite in this world that possesses great power. Its members are in the process of finalizing the one-world globalist government of the Last Days as prophesied in Holy Writ. This structure is enveloped with a false and deceptive surface light but contains an inner core of pure darkness.

Real Christians are the only ones who can possibly possess the spiritual power to overcome this powerful darkness. There are very popular and powerful ministers in this country with GIANT platforms but they almost never use them for the right reasons, such as revealing the devil and defining sin. Could it be they never would have achieved their great success had they used their platforms properly?

THIS COULD WORK!

Here’s a suggestion:

Make a list of the top 50 influential Christian leaders in America—those who are extremely influential, wealthy, and well-connected—including mega pastors, Christian television personalities, and ministers of any denomination. Suggest strongly that they start DEFINING SIN specifically and speaking out very powerfully against sin, including the very worst sins such as abortion. Suggest they do this every single time they speak in public ministry, at churches, at conferences, on television, on radio, on the internet, and out in public. Suggest they begin using their tremendous wealth, influence, advantage, and giant platforms to teach other Christians to do the same.

I guarantee you things would start turning around. It wouldn’t take long. Though there would be a tremendous backlash from the forces of evil in the beginning and some of these people would get powerfully slammed, people in this country would start getting convicted. They would start repenting of their sin. They would start receiving what their souls have been crying out for:

(1) Discovering what sin is

(2) Discovering the sins they are guilty of and have on their account

(3) Discovering the great power sin has over them

(4) Discovering the way to be released from the power of sin and be free

The real Gospel would then start doing the work it was designed to do. Light would shine. Darkness would flee. America would change. The Great Awakening would begin coming forth in great mighty waves. This is exactly what happened when the Lord Jesus came. A Great Powerful Awakening took place in the land of darkness and the shadow of death! But what also happened?

He got crucified.

REAL CHRISTIANS

So now you know why the suggested Big 50 will never take our suggestion, even though a few of them have already been unjustifiably maligned by anti-Christian enemies. The simple fact is that there is not a Stephen among them. They are nothing more than members of a Christian elite with their own personal agendas. The American Great Awakening, therefore, is dependent on the kind of people Paul defined in the following passage.

It is dependent upon YOU.

         For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God. [1Corinthians 1:26-29] [1]

© 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church

__________

Here is the comment I left on R.J. Dawson’s blog:

“Absolutely positively Amen.

“I have a couple of Christian friends in Jackson, Wyoming. I met them while I was hitchhiking through Jackson back in 2003. I have asked them and I have asked the Lord why the Lord has had me hitchhike through Jackson so much.

“Jackson, Wyoming is a very wealthy, liberal town in western Wyoming. It has around 9,000 people and has an abortion clinic. My friends have protested outside of that abortion clinic many times in the past few years. My friends just got kicked out of the First Baptist Church in Jackson because the people in that church didn’t like them protesting outside of that abortion clinic. My friends have also been rejected or harassed by a few other Christian churches in Jackson because of their stance against abortion.

“As far as I know, most of the churches in Jackson are fairly worthless. I believe that there are some very powerful principalities in Jackson. Before the Lord can judge the town of Jackson, He has to judge the worthless Christians that live in Jackson.

“I believe the Lord has had me hitchhike through Jackson to intercede against the principalities in that town and to warn Jackson of its wickedness.

“The wickedness of Jackson, Wyoming is the United States in microcosm.”

_________

Jackson, Wyoming
Cliff Creek Fire–InciWeb
Third Fire Confirmed Near Jackson
Jacksonites, Yours is a Bloody City
BREAKING:  Wildfire! Bondo Breaks Out
Jackson, Wyoming Fire, 2012
Wildfires in Wyoming Marching Towards the Town of Jackson
The Eruption of Mount Pelee, St. Pierre, Martinique, 1902
A Place Utterly Decadent by Reputation

__________

Psalm 83: 1-5:

“Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God.  For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head.  They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones.  They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.  For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee.”

Psalm 83: 14-18:

“As the fire burneth a wood, and as the flame setteth the mountains on fire;  So persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm.  Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O LORD.  Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish: That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.”

 

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A Chinese Christian Gives Me a Ride   Leave a comment

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This morning I got a ride from Ashton, Idaho to West Yellowstone, Montana with a couple of guys.  I don’t remember the driver’s name, but he was originally from China.  He has lived in LA for the past ten years.  He was with his son.  He spoke some English, but sometimes it was hard to understand him at times.

He was a Christian.  I asked him who were the first Christian missionaries to China.  He said the Portuguese were; I thought the British were.

They were from southern China.  He said something very interesting:  he said that someone from Shang-hai would not be able to understand someone from Hong Kong.  The national language is Mandarin and there is also a Cantonese language that is spoken in China.

I told him about Watchman Nee and that Nee was a well-known Chinese Christian writer who died in prison in 1972.  He had never heard of Watchman Nee.  Maybe Nee is better known in North America; maybe the Communists tried to suppress Nee’s writings.  I told him that The Spiritual Man by Watchman Nee was a classic.

They dropped me off in West Yellowstone and we took some photos.  He said that his son would stay with him for a month and then go back to China.  It was a very edifying trip to West Yellowstone.

Watchman Nee

Posted July 13, 2016 by Tim Shey in Uncategorized

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Intercession Is Not Prayer   7 comments

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This is from the blog Kirjath Sepher:

From:  Sophereth at Kirjath Sepher

To: the intercessors

. Intercession is not prayer.

. Yeshua was NOT praying a habitual, rote, vainly repetitious, charismatic, self oriented, christian prayer as He hung there on the cross. i.e. Now Father, I thank you in the name of Jesus that you deliver me and bless me and prosper me. I thank you Father that I am healthy, that I am wealthy and I am wise. I thank you Father that my ministry prospers. I thank you that I pretty much get everything that I say…I need…I want…I think…my understanding about this is…I know that you will want to…bless my endeavors Lord…you know that I am doing all of these things, all of this busy work, for you Lord, in your name Lord…that’s why I don’t have much time left over for….Lord? are you there Lord?…

. NO! NOT SO! HE WAS LAYING DOWN HIS LIFE!

. what does that mean? for us? to lay down your life?

. this is what that means: “nevertheless, not my will, but thy will…”

. after you have laid down your life, the prayer will sound different.

. enough said.

[Kirjath Sepher means “city of books”]

Intercession
Paga (Intercession)
Two Emails (Intercession)

Shooting an Elephant; Aborting a Fetus   6 comments

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This is from the blog Oceans Never Fill:

George Orwell wrote the poignant essay Shooting an Elephant in 1936 and effectively criticized Imperialism and its inevitable destruction of both the oppressed and the oppressor. The tyranny of one party is a destructive force to those whom he rules over by forcefully taking their freedom, and it is a destructive force to the tyrant himself by passively taking his freedom as he fits himself into the expectations of being a despot.

Orwell was called the conscience of his generation. I think, perhaps, if we look carefully at his words we can see that he may speak as a conscience for our generation as well.

Consider his quote,

The people expected it of me and I had got to do it; I could feel their two thousand wills pressing me forward, irresistibly[…] I perceived in this moment that when the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom that he destroys […] He wears a mask, and his face grows to fit it. I had got to shoot the elephant. I had committed myself to doing it when I sent for the rifle. A sahib has got to act like a sahib; he has got to appear resolute, to know his own mind and do definite things.

Now, let’s modernize his words, let us see how they may prophetically speak today,

The people expected it of me and I had got to do it; I could feel their millions of wills pressing me forward, irresistibly. I perceived in this moment that when the woman turns tyrant it is her own freedom that she destroys. She wears a mask, and her face grows to fit it. I had to abort my child. I had committed myself to doing it when I read the pregnancy test. A woman has got to act like a woman; she has to appear strong, to know her mind and do definite things.

The Pro-choice narrative purports that it is a woman’s right, her power, her freedom to choose life or death for the baby within her, to choose motherhood after her child has come into being. It is an embodiment of all that Feminism has sought for as it culminates in a woman’s right over motherhood. A woman’s reproductive rights are about allowing her the same borderless freedom afforded a man who can decide not to sire the child he has brought into being, a man can run from an unwanted pregnancy, and through abortion a woman can too. Equality of the sexes it seems, must be achieved through irresponsibility and murder.

But is that the kind of equality we want? Does it really free a man when he runs away from the woman he impregnates and ignores the existence of his flesh and blood? And will women be free if they are given the same opportunity to shirk responsibility? Is that freedom?

If we follow along Orwell’s line of reasoning, the answer is a resounding, no, it is not freedom, it is enslavement to impulse and a loss of humanity. It is an enslavement of the mind where one is so entrenched with the expectations of feminism and the pushing and mob cry for sexuality without consequence that urges a woman to kill the life within her, to make her the mother of death.

Dear sisters, you have been lied to. The narrative surrounding abortion is trying to sell you death, that you will find freedom from whatever desperation may strike if you see those twin pink lines. But the reality of tyranny is, and always has been, destruction. And the action of abortion makes you the despot. You become the tyrant, as though your greatest desires can only be achieved through the death of a child. You will find no freedom there, you will find only pain, and you will strip yourself of your own humanity as you hold your own power over the one who is weaker than you.

Because abortion is about power, the power of the woman over her own body, and ultimately about her power over the child within her. She has the power to end life. She has the power to choose the fate of another person. Abortion makes women tyrants over their own children and it leaves a path of bitter destruction, with seared consciences, broken hearts, and severed hands. But even as abortion asserts empowering a woman to choose her own fate, it simultaneously victimizes her. A woman is weak and a slave to her impulses, she is a victim of biology and unplanned circumstances, and so she can only be powerful if she takes control and undoes biology, a woman must murder to have power.

But power isn’t the same thing as strength. Power abuses, and asserts self over others. Power manipulates. But strength? Strength is courage in the face of the unknown or unplanned, strength is choosing justice regardless of personal outcome, strength is having integrity regardless of circumstance. Despots wield power and destroy. But people of strength are freed by conviction of moral obligation to justice.

The Pro-Choice narrative speaks nothing of strength and has instead echoed the ethic of Svidrigaylov–the pitiful nihilist of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment who excuses his immoral behavior and apathy toward suffering because of his own victimization at the hands of fate –“am I a monster or am I myself the victim? What if I am the victim?” Somehow, we have deflected the responsibility away from ourselves like Svidrigaylov, claiming our own victimization as we assert our power over the fate of another. We women are supposedly strong, intelligent, and equally human, but we have made our crimes into the necessary result of our victimization, as though we have no strength to face the unplanned with justice from our own hands. As though we are the ons being oppressed as we pay to have someone rip the child from our womb piecemeal. The Pro-Choice ethic subtly suggests that we are too weak to have moral obligation and incapable of the strength to pursue justice.

But sisters, if we choose to be victims who must rescue ourselves through despotic power over another, we are monsters.

But we don’t have to be.

There is one who came to rescue the oppressed, and he also came to rescue the tyrants. Jesus deals a deathblow to power, he tells us not to pursue it, but instead to embrace the weak, and to find strength in him. Unplanned pregnancies are terrifying, but, they don’t have to create tyranny within us. We can choose instead to find strength in the one who promises rest despite circumstances, who pleads that we pursue justice, who demands that we defend the weak, and who died to make it possible.

The Pro-Choice narrative is tyranny, and tyranny is enslavement, but Jesus offers us freedom. Orwell (whether fictionally or not) saw no escape from shooting the elephant without being made a fool, he was trapped by his own pride and fear and violated his own conscience, he was a slave to the impulses of the crowd and his own pride and power. Jesus came and confirmed that alone, we are indeed fools who are nothing but slaves to the very impulses that harm us, but he offers us a nail-pierced hand as a means of escape, he offers us a way that leads to life and strength, instead of the inevitable death that comes with pride and power.

Truth Matters
Jackson, Wyoming
Jacksonites, Yours is a Bloody City

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Vision of spiritual battle for Britain’s birthright   Leave a comment

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This is from the blog Richard’s Watch:

Veronika West published this yesterday morning 21st June on Facebook

“IN THIS HOUR I SEE A FIERCE BATTLE, A TUG OF WAR THAT RAGES OVER THE DESTINY AND BIRTHRIGHT OF BRITAIN, BUT FEAR NOT FOR YOUR WORDS AND PRAYERS HAVE BEEN HEARD AND HE HAS COME”!

This morning in my time of soaking in His presence, suddenly I was shown a fierce battle that is raging over the Birthright of Britain in this very hour. I saw in the Spirit Mighty Warring Warrior Angels in what looked like a fierce battle and tug of war over the future Destiny and Sovereignty of the United Kingdom.

As I watched intently, Immediately the Holy Spirit quickened these words to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your mind to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words and prayers have been heard, and I have COME because of your words and prayers.”

Now, after hearing the Spirit speak, suddenly I could clearly hear the sound and the intensity of the words and prayers of the Sons and Daughters of God that have been crying out for the plans and the purposes of God to be made manifest in this hour and season over the Nation of Britain and the United Kingdom.

As I pressed in deeper into what I was hearing and seeing in the realms of the Spirit, suddenly I was shown the ‘Guardian Angel of the United Kingdom’ standing over the land. This Mighty Guardian Angel stood hundreds of feet tall and with eyes of blazing fire he stood with a raised sword and shield which completely overshadowed the whole Nation of Britain. Immediately the Holy Spirit likened this incredible Angel to me as the Archangel Michael who was the Guardian Angel and fierce Protector over the Nation of Israel, who had warred against and defeated the powerful territorial spirits that ruled over the Nations of Greece and Persia.

(“Then the messenger from God said, ‘Do you know why I have come to you? But now I will return to fight against the prince of Persia; and when I am through with him, lo, the prince of Greece will come. But I will tell you what is inscribed in the book of truth: there is none who contends by my side against these except Michael, your prince”!)

Friends, Here we see the mighty Angel of the Lord going back to fight against the demon prince of Persia to DEFEAT HIM. As we read on we see yet again another enemy spirit, the powerful demon prince of Greece, these were the territorial spirits that had rule and dominion over the Nations of Persia and Greece! These were the demonic spirits that held sway over these Nations and they needed to be dealt with by the Warrior Angels of God in order that the plans and purposes of God could be established in the land in that day.

Prophetically this morning I was shown this same battle that this raging in this very hour over the Birthright and Destiny of BRITAIN, BUT I HEAR THE SPIRIT SAY, “FEAR NOT, FOR FROM THE FIRST DAY THAT YOU SET YOUR MIND TO UNDERSTAND AND YOU HUMBLED YOURSELF BEFORE YOUR GOD, YOURS WORDS AND PRAYERS HAVE BEEN HEARD, AND I HAVE COME”!

In this hour the Holy Spirit is charging us as Sons and Daughters to WAR IN A NEW WAY FOR A NEW DAY IS DAWNING, there is a spiritual battle that rages over this Nation with powerful territorial spirits, demons, principalities, powers, world rulers of this present darkness, spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places, we MUST STAND OUR GROUND AND REFUSE TO BE DISTRACTED OR DISCOURAGED OR DERAILED WE MUST STAY THE COURSE AND REMAIN STEADFAST AND VIGILANT, WE MUST DECREE AND AGREE THAT THE BATTLE FOR BRITAIN IS THE LORDS, AS A NATION WE HAVE THE VICTORY TO THE GLORY OF GOD.

Footnote:

In this connection see Tim Shey ‘s profound remarks on last Thursday’s post:

‘I believe this upcoming Brexit vote may be the most important event in Great Britain since the Allies defeated Nazi Germany in 1945. Here is something I stumbled upon earlier this morning; it is a dream that I had back in 2009: [continue reading at foot of this post]’

The World is the Battleground
Today’s storms mirror Battle for Britain in the ‘heavenlies’
Happy Independence Day, Great Britain!
Brexit

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You Reap What You Sow   2 comments

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This is from the blog Vessels of Clay:

You have plowed iniquity; you have reaped injustice; you have eaten the fruit of lies. Because you have trusted in your own way and in the multitude of your warriors, therefore the tumult of war shall arise among your people, and all your fortresses shall be destroyed, Shalman destroyed Beth-arbel on the day of battle; mothers were dashed in pieces with their children.Thus it shall be done to you, O Bethel, because of your great evil. At dawn the king of Israelshall be utterly cut off. – Hosea 10:13-15 ESV

At times, even as believers, we are surprised at the outcomes of some of our decision making. We are somehow amazed that our lies have consequences. We are shocked when our love affair with materialism leaves us struggling with greed, envy, covetousness, worry and anxiety. We wonder why we are so angry, yet never connect the dots to our daily consumption of violence-filled media. We wrestle with lust, but never seem to associate it with the sexually explicit programming that fills our TV screens each and every night.

The Israelites were also oblivious to the cause-and-effect nature of their lives. So God made it clear to them: “you have cultivated wickedness and harvested a thriving crop of sins” (Hosea 10:13 NLT). In other words, they were reaping exactly what they should have expected. No surprises. Just the natural consequences of living their lives apart from God. They had consumed a daily dose of lies about everything. They had been told that God would not punish them for their sins because they were His chosen people. They had been promised that alliances with foreign powers would protect them from destruction. They believed that the gods of pagan nations were anything but false. But while a steady diet of lies may taste good going down and make you feel good for the moment, it will leave you spiritually weak, malnourished, and starving to death. 

Self-reliance and misplaced trust were behind the behavior of the Israelites. “Claiming to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:22 ESV). The prophet, Jeremiah, recorded a similar indictment from God against the people of Judah. “My people are foolish and do not know me. They are stupid children who have no understanding. They are clever enough at doing wrong, but they have no idea how to do right!” (Jeremiah 4:22 NLT). They thought they knew better than God. They rejected His commands and ignored His warnings. They lived life according to their own terms. They stopped trusting God and, instead, placed their hope in false gods. When things got tough and they found themselves threatened by outside forces, they turned to alliances with countries like Egypt. They refused to rely on God. He had become small, insignificant and insufficient to meet their needs. The God who had delivered them from captivity in Egypt and given them the land of Canaan had become too weak to meet their needs. They had long ago forgotten the words of David:

Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heavenwith the saving might of his right hand. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright. – Psalm 20:6-8 ESV

Not only did they doubt God’s salvation, they denied His judgment. They really did not believe that they could fall. They were so confident in their status as God’s chosen people, that they believed they were invincible. And yet, they never seemed to recognize the fact that their protection by God was based on their obedience and faithfulness to him. He had warned them that disobedience would bring His discipline. Unfaithfulness would have consequences. So God gave them the bad news: “Now the terrors of war will rise among your people” (Hosea 10:14 NLT). Their army would be impotent. Their alliances would prove useless. Their fortresses and defensive measures would be insufficient. And their false gods would be exposed for what they were: non-existent and, therefore, no help in time of need.

The devastation would be horrific. Referring to a past battle, God warned them that their fall would be brutal and merciless: “as Shalman destroyed Beth-arbel on the day of battle; mothers were dashed in pieces with their children” (Hosea 10:14b ESV). The Assyrians were going to show no mercy. Their destruction of the nation of Israel would be complete and no one would escape their wrath. From king to commoner, priest to prostitute, the influential to innocent infants – all would feel the wrath of the Assyrians and the judgment of God.

These kinds of passages make us uncomfortable as believers. They paint a picture of God that seems to contradict our view of Him as loving, gracious, forgiving and merciful. But too often, our understanding of God can become one-dimensional. We prefer to emphasize His love while downplaying His holiness and hatred of sin. We find comfort in His grace, but don’t want to think about His righteous wrath and divine obligation to punish sin. In doing so, we diminish the value of the gift of His Son. But it is in understanding the severity of sin’s offensiveness to God and His just and righteous obligation to punish sin that we fully comprehend the magnitude of what Christ has done for us. “God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8 NLT). Jesus “was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God” (Romans 4:25 NLT). The inescapable reality was that “even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead” (Ephesians 2:5 NLT).

Our sin was real. God’s judgment against our sin was deserved. And yet He showed us mercy – in spite of our sinfulness. Grace does not diminish the gravity of sin. It actually reveals the amazing love of God as He provides a means of salvation that is capable of satisfying His wrath against sin. He gave His Son. It was the death of Jesus alone that could propitiate or satisfy the just judgment of God against the sinfulness of mankind. Nothing else would do. No other payment could have been made that would have paid the debt that was owed. So when we elevate God’s love while ignoring His wrath, we actually diminish the amazing nature of that love. He loved us in spite of us, not because of us.

And yet, we continue to sow and reap, sin and suffer, because we don’t fully appreciate the gravity of sin and the greatness of His grace. We justify our actions, rationalize our sinful behavior and then wonder why we reap discontentment, dissatisfaction, anger, joylessness, envy, greed, and immorality. It is an accurate understanding of the grace of God that should produce in us the fruit of righteousness. As God told the people of Israel, “Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the LORD, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you” (Hosea 10:12 NLT).

The Vision of Prophets   3 comments

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This is from inspirationfromthewordblog:

When Miriam and Aaron opposed Moses, the LORD said to them, “If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.” (Num. 12:6)

The Hebrew word mar’âh  is used in this passage, and transliterated into English as ‘a vision’.  It means ‘a mode of revelation; in the sense of a mirror’.  Mar’âh can refer to anything, either literal or figurative, that is seen or perceived, which reveals and reflects back a message from, and/or a characteristic or attribute of, God.

‘Vision’, in English, means ‘the act or power of seeing with the eyes’.  The term ‘a vision’, however, relates only to that which was seen, not the action itself.  vision is an experience of the mind that naturally begins with sight — for whether the vision’s image or scene is transmitted via the eyes, or is simply registered directly in the mind — of necessity something must first be seen.

In that context, consider the phrase frequently uttered by the prophets of the Old Testament: ‘and the word of the Lord came to me’.  It would be consistent with God’s statement in Numbers 12:6 to assume that the ‘word of the Lord’ often came in the form of pictorial representations (visions and dreams) of the message God wanted to convey.  Pictures are the simplest form of communication, and they precede words: because when learning a language, we are first shown pictures of objects, then we are given the word(s) that is/are associated with them.  Pictures and words both express meaning, but pictures are superior in that they can be understood universally, while words are language specific.  And to a certain degree, a prophet receiving a vision in this manner can be made analogous to a person watching a video presentation; so the value of this method of communication is readily apparent.

However, there are also instances of God sending an angel as a messenger to speak for him; and Hebrews 1:1 informs that God disclosed his thoughts to the prophets in many ways, at different times.  So, with all of the various ways that God can communicate, why are there seemingly no prophets among the Lord’s followers today?  Does Christianity have no need for prophecy anymore?  This can by no means be the case, for Romans 12:6 states, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.  If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.”  Furthermore, we are told, “And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues.”  (1 Cor. 12:28)  Paul ranks prophecy as the second highest function within the body of Christ!!  He also says we ought to earnestly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy, and that he wishes everyone in the church prophesied. (1 Cor 14:1&5)  Should anyone reasonably assume then that a need for so important a role no longer exists?!  God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, so if the manifestation of prophesy is nearly extinct today, it is a reflection of our own failure and inadequacy — but that is a different subject that cannot be explored here, so I will simply draw attention to the implication of the words “earnestly desire” and move on.

At this point, it would be remiss to not return to and conclude the rest of the thought from Hebrews 1:1.  Picking back up in verse 2, “…but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.”  This indicates that the means by which the Father communicates with man has changed.  Prior to the Lord’s first advent, communication from God came in diverse forms.  When Jesus was on the earth, God was then speaking directly through his Son, who was the preexistent Word.  Now that he has been resurrected, God speaks via the gift of the Holy Spirit, in combination with the revealed word of Scripture.  This change in the manner by which God communicates does not bring the need for prophecy to an end in the present day, it merely changes how prophecy is conveyed.

Based of the meaning of mar’âh, a prophet of the Old Testament would reflect back to the people what God had revealed by the vision.  The vision itself was always sharply impressed upon the prophet’s mind, even when its meaning was obscure.  It was rendered in such a way that it appeared to their mind with the same clarity and distinctness as that which is visible to the eye, so that they could speak with certainty and conviction.   In a sense, the vision acted as a light to the prophet’s mind, revealing the things of God that would have been otherwise imperceptible; since vision is impossible in the absence of light.  The prophet then functioned as a mirror, reflecting the light of that vision back to the people.  Before the promised Messiah was revealed, visions and dreams served in his stead, but today the Lord is the Light of the world, by whom we are made to see.

The Father’s disclosure of his plan for the salvation of man through his Son was completed with the Book of Revelation.   It would seem that all He intends to reveal regarding the end of days has already been spoken.  It would appear that visions and dreams have had their end — perhaps not on an isolated, individual basis — but at least as far they concern any messages intended to be delivered on a national or worldwide scale.  Yet although there are no new revelations regarding salvation, in the general sense of those conveyed by visions, it is still true that not all of the revelations from Scripture have been made clear: and this is why the gift of prophecy is still essential today.

Prophecy is not only predictive, it is also interpretive.  This can be shown by the statement found in Dan. 9:1-2, which says: “In the first year of Darius son of Xerxes… I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years.”   The prophecy he refers to is from Jer. 29:1-24.  Its message was for the all of the exiles who lived in that time, and it retained its relevance to its intended audience up until the command to return to Jerusalem was given.  But a prophecy, whether it be given for guidance and instruction, or to serve as a warning, is without value unless it is understood — just like the gift of tongues is only useful when it is interpreted.  Therefore, Daniel, a prophet himself, was given understanding by God so that he could act in accordance to the dictates of a prophecy that had been given previously to another of God’s servants.  As a prophet, he was also given the power to interpret: as when he translated the king’s dark dreams.  Likewise, he received visions himself, that spoke of events far into the future — and angelic beings supplied the explanations in an obscure manner — not for his own benefit, but for the sake of those who would live during the age when the visions would attain their relevance and fulfillment.  That which was veiled would only be made plain at the appropriate time.  Since the events to which some prophecies allude have not yet occurred, and since all of their meanings have not been fully understood, it stands to reason that the interpretive component of prophecy still has relevance today.

The interpretive aspect of prophecy is essentially a process of converting something hidden — a meaning that is unseen and incomprehensible –into something that is now clear and readily understood.  This idea evokes a further discussion of sight, because understanding how light converts the invisible into the visible can aid in comprehending how the phenomenon of understanding a vision is made possible.  The eye sees, the mind reasons, and the heart understands, as stated in Isaiah 6:10 and elsewhere.  Sight is the action whereby the eyes take in whatever is reflected back and revealed by light.  The information the eyes receive is processed in the mind, and the brain then attempts to define what was seen, provide context from past experience, and attach meaning to it.  The mind then relays its analysis to the heart, submitting its conclusions for judgement.  The heart then renders its verdict as to whether the mind has determined accurately, or falsely — and the communication continues until the two are of one accord.

This process is common to all, both the believer and the unbeliever alike, but it is important to note that definitude of the heart’s judgment can only be had when it is given in the presence of the holy spirit, since God alone sees all things as they truly are — and it is only by His spirit that man can know the mind of God, and see as He sees.  The Lord Jesus, the Christ, is both the Word, who spoke in days past to the prophets in the light of visions and dreams, and the present Light of the world, who reveals the hidden things contained in the word of scripture.  He is the one who sends forth the Holy Spirit, which teaches righteous judgment to the hearts of all those into whom it is sent; and it is by this same spirit that the prophecies of old were uttered.  It should not be imagined that the passage of time has rendered the Lord’s spirit mute.  The ability to see in a physical capacity is a gift given by God, which he provides to all but a few.  The ability to see in the spiritual sense — that which can be called insight, discernment, or wisdom — is also a gift of God, but its dispensation is far more rare.  Its treasures are only discovered by those who eagerly desire and earnestly seek them.  Those who truly ‘seek first the Kingdom and its righteousness’ will have such things added to them, and more.

The prophet of the Old Testament would receive the Lord’s message or instruction in a vision or dream — they could clearly see it in their minds.  One could say they received the spiritual word by physical sight.  This is fitting because the Word of God had not yet been sent, and God’s word (Scripture) had not been completed.  A prophet of the modern era is the beneficiary of revelation his predecessors did not have access to.  Therefore, they receive insight by the Light of the Word (as Christ dwells in them): by contrast, a case of spiritual sight coming through the physical word of Scripture.  The prophets of old had faith in what they saw — they believed the vision — and thereby communicated new revelations to the people.  Today, the prophet must believe the word — and have faith in the unseen things of God — depending upon the Lord to provide insight into prophesies which are still not fully understood, though they were spoken of long ago.  The need for spiritual insight is more urgent today then ever.  Remember that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.  (Rev. 19:10)  May God inspire the hearts of all those who love Him to set aside their concerns for the things of this life, and may He fill more of His children with an earnest desire to be granted the greatest spiritual gifts — which He makes readily available to those who seek.

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