One of the most confusing elements of the prophetic movement of the past is how prophets could still prophesy accurately and perform signs and wonders, yet be living in a compromised lifestyle. In Romans 11:29 Paul writes, “… for the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable.” Another translation says that they are “without repentance.”
In other words, individuals can continue to perform miracles and prophesy without God revoking or changing His mind, without repenting about the gifts and calling. The gifts and calling of God are about God and His Graciousness. They have nothing to do with us, or our character. How one handles and operates in the gifts and calling of God is all about one’s character. While God may give His gifts and calling “irrevocably,” “without changing His mind,” and “without repentance,” we cannot properly handle and operate in those gifts and calling without repentance.
While prophets (and all others) may be allowed to operate in their gifts and calling without repentance, and only God knows why He allows this, they cannot walk in the fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit without repentance. One does not need to look any further than the life of King Saul who lost the fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit (1 Sam. 15:26), but still prophesied, and then led Israel for another 20 years.
It’s interesting to note that the only person in the whole nation of Israel who knew and recognized that Saul had lost the fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit was Samuel, the prophet. An entire nation was deceived and led astray by the horrible character of Saul, while the irrevocable gifts and calling upon King Saul’s life remained. And so it is today, thousands are being led astray by compromised lives and voices astounding people with their gifts and calling. But these do not have the approval and fresh touch of God upon their lives. They will be like those in Matthew 7, where Jesus said, “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not cast out demons, and in your name perform miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.'”
The Need to Distinguish Spirits
The new prophetic generation rising up in the earth will carry great wisdom and discernment to know the difference between the genuine and fresh anointing of God versus prophets that are just operating in irrevocable gifts and callings. As previously stated in an earlier chapter, this is why it is so dangerous to rely upon gifting. Remember, when we stand before Jesus on Judgment Day, He will reward no one for the gifts He gave them. No one with the gift of prophecy will be rewarded for prophesying and no one who was given the gift of miracles will be rewarded for the miracles they performed. We will simply be rewarded for how we stewarded the gifts that we were given.
After Todd Bentley’s moral failure during the “Lakeland Outpouring” and the massive fallout in the body of Christ that took place after it, Dutch Sheets, a well known leader and author in the body of Christ, offered a letter of apology to the public. His words are sobering, revealing and should be received as a fatherly warning to the new prophetic generation.
Dutch wrote and said: “We, the leaders of the charismatic community, have operated in an extremely low level of discernment. Frankly, we often don’t even try to discern. We assume a person’s credibility based on gifts, charisma, the size of their ministry or church, whether they can prophesy or work a miracle, etc. (Miracles and signs are intended to validate God and His message, not the messenger; sometimes they validate the assignment of an individual, but never the person’s character, lifestyle or spiritual maturity.) We leaders in the Church have become no different than the world around us in our standards for measuring success and greatness. This has contributed to the body of Christ giving millions of dollars to undeserving individuals; it has allowed people living in sin to become influential leaders—even to lead movements, allowing them influence all the way to the White House.
“Through our lack of discernment we built their stages and gave them their platforms. We have been gullible beyond words—gullible leaders producing gullible sheep. When a spiritual leader we’re connected with violates trust, is exposed for immorality or falls below other accepted standards of behavior, it does not exonerate us simply to say we don’t condone such behavior. Those we lead trust us to let them know whom to trust. We have failed them miserably in this regard. For this lack of discernment, and for employing and passing on inappropriate standards of judgment, I repent to the Lord and ask forgiveness of the body of Christ.”
Wounds From the Past
The new prophetic generation will not only embrace every aspect of God’s Character and Nature regardless of their personal experience, but they will also give the Spirit of God access to every area of their personal life that needs healing and deliverance. As prophetic people, it is not enough to acknowledge the Character and Nature of God. We must allow it to change us inwardly.
The Glory of God passed before and through Moses on Mt. Sinai, and transformed his face so that it shone. However, it is the desire of God that the new prophetic generation of the New Covenant would not settle for the Glory to pass in front of them and through them, and merely transform them outwardly. The Father wants His Glory—His Character and Nature—to utterly transform us inwardly, so that our inward person reflects His Glory, and then comes out of us in all we say and do.
Several years ago I received a call from a pastor that was struggling with a prophet in his church. While this prophet had become a trusted voice in the community over many years, he began to say some things to the pastor that were alarming. The pastor called me and said, “Jeremiah, this prophet is accusing many women in our community of operating in a Jezebel spirit. Every woman I give authority to, he brings an accusation to me in private and I need your help.”
I agreed to meet with this prophet on behalf of the pastor and as we sat down, I immediately felt prompted by the Spirit to ask him to describe his family growing up, and specifically the relationship that his Mom and Dad had.
As I have seen over many years dealing with prophetic people, this prophet immediately put his walls up and had no interest in talking about his past. He tried to change the subject and wanted to talk about what God was saying over the American Church. Refusing to be distracted, I asked the question again. He looked at me right in the eyes and said, “OK, I hate my Mom and my parents had a terrible relationship growing up.” Now we were getting somewhere.
I asked the next question, “How many times have you been married?” He said, “Three, why?” I said, “So you hate women and the reason why you think every woman that get’s put in authority is operating in a Jezebel spirit is because you are jealous and still have never dealt with your hatred toward females.” The prophet looked at me and said, “How do you know that?”
I said, “Because I have sat with thousands of prophetic people just like you who have major character issues and unresolved conflict and they’re deceived into believing that all these things will not distort and defile the word of the Lord. And I’m telling you right now that, you need to repent to your pastor, repent to the Lord and submit to some serious healing before you think about prophesying again. You are releasing poison to the body of Christ rather than healing.” After our meeting, the pastor never heard from the prophet again.
While this story is incredibly sad, I have seen it repeated more times than I care to mention. In fact, a majority of pastors that I run into across the country do not trust or have honor in their heart toward the prophetic ministry because they have had interaction with a prophet or prophetic person that carried the word of the Lord, but did not have the heart of the Father because they refused character transformation over the years. Perhaps the most dangerous and blinding position to be in as a prophetic person is to have the ability to hear from the Lord for everyone, except for yourself! It’s amazing how many prophetic people are quick to point out the flaws and sins of others, but cannot see their own.
Issues With Authority
Another primary area of character transformation that the new prophetic generation will give themselves to is walking in healthy relationship with those in positions of authority.
There are too many prophetic people in the earth who have little to no connection with church leadership. They carry deep wounds of rejection, bitterness, unforgiveness, and resentment. These individuals constantly seek to minister prophetically to others despite their pain and it’s even more exposed when they minister to those in authority.
Not every church leader is a King Saul of the Old Testament or a religious Pharisee of the New Testament. I’m convinced that many prophetic people who are constantly complaining that the Holy Spirit is not moving in their local assembly need to have their motives checked. The spirit of Jezebel wants freedom in the church so that she can move, but the spirit of Elijah wants freedom in the church so that God can move.
I’m concerned that what a majority of prophetic people want right now in the earth is a free-for-all where they are in charge rather than freedom in the church where the Holy Spirit can move under the facilitation of a shepherd who is called to guard the flock. I repeat: Freedom does not equal a free-for-all where anything goes. These type of environments and atmospheres are what is doing so much damage to the prophetic movement in the earth.
The Street Prophetess
Several years ago, there was a woman who was traveling from city to city around Florida, claiming to be a prophetess of the Lord. She would enter into churches and begin rebuking the leadership publicly for their sin.
I remember the day she visited the church that I shepherd because I felt her demonic presence in the room. As I kept an eye on her in the back, I specifically asked the Holy Spirit to keep her quiet until after the service. I could tell that no one in the room knew who she was except for me.
As I made my way out to my vehicle after service, sure enough, she was standing right beside it. I walked right up to her and she began cursing me. In fact, she accused me until she was out of breath and had nothing else to say. During her rampage, I began asking the Holy Spirit what was wrong with this woman. Why was she so heavily gifted in the prophetic, yet incredibly unstable and angry toward church leadership? Didn’t she know I was prophetic too?
The Holy Spirit said to me, “Jeremiah, her bitterness and unforgiveness toward those who have attempted to hold her accountable regarding her character issues over the years is demonically tormenting her. She is carrying an elitist mentality where she will not submit to the Godly authority that I have placed in her life because she believes she hears from Me more clearly than anyone else. She has become an island unto herself, measuring herself by herself, and I say to you that she is without understanding (2 Cor. 10:12).
Healthy and Whole
If the new prophetic generation will give themselves to every aspect of God’s character and nature and commit to a life-long journey of dealing with their character flaws, they will be like no other prophetic generation that the earth has ever seen.
In fact the new prophetic generation will contend for voices being raised up in the earth that will not tear down with their character what they have built with their gifting. Humility, meekness and gentleness will be hallmarks of their lives. To the degree that the new prophetic generation allows God’s Character and Nature to be worked in them, to that degree it will flow through them.
Releasing individuals who do not know who God is and who do not value inward character transformation to prophesy over people is absolute foolishness.
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