he Prophetic Office is one that carries a very large
load of responsibility and authority. We will see in our next study just how responsible
the prophet is, but in this study I want to show how God prepares His prophets before they
are permitted to take up their office in the Body of Christ. It is very similar in some
ways to a person being promoted to a worldly office. Before they can be placed into
office, they need to be trained to do so, and then tested to see if they are able to
handle the responsibilities. You cannot place dangerous tools in the hands of a child or
one who is unskilled and irresponsible in their use. So also, God cannot place the tools
and authority of the Prophetic Office into the hands of one who has not been correctly
trained in their use and is responsible enough to use them wisely.
This actually applies to all of the fivefold ministry offices, but since the Prophetic
Office carries a far greater power of authority than the others, except for the Apostolic
Office, the preparation of the Prophet is unlike any of the others. Most apostles tend to
go also through the prophetic preparation on the way to qualifying for the apostolic
office, so what I am going to share here applies very much also to the preparation of the
The prophet is one who hears from God and speaks forth His Word into the earth. When he
(or she, I am speaking as a man so I am using the male gender here) speaks it forth, it is
sent as a creative word as described by Isaiah the prophet
Isaiah 55:11 So shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth:
it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall
succeed [in the thing] for which I sent it.
When the prophet of God makes a declaration he does not simply predict or indicate the
will of God, but he literally speaks forth a decree into the earth. And that word is sent
forth in power to make things happen. We will discuss this more when we consider the
ministry of Intercession, which is the hallmark of the prophetic ministry. It is very
important therefore that the prophet hears correctly before he opens his mouth. And that
takes a bit of training and development. He must distinguish his own burden and prejudices
from the pure word of God.
So God puts the prophet through a training that causes him to come to a place where he
cannot rely on his natural abilities. Even his ability to hear the voice of God must be
put in question, that he may never boast in himself. He must learn not to rely on the
flesh in any of its forms, for then he will be subject to being influenced by the enemy.
He cannot rely on his mental, emotional or willpower capabilities. He cannot rely on his
physical prowess or intelligence. He must become simply a channel through which the Spirit
of God can speak.
Since we all at times walk in the flesh and miss God, the prophet will never come to a
place of sinless perfection. And that is not at all the goal of the prophetic preparation.
The way God prepares His prophets is not to make them perfect, but to show them in no
uncertain terms how weak and imperfect they really are. Until they come to the place where
they walk humbly before Him in total dependence on Him alone. Where they speak with
confidence, yet in fear and trembling.
Lets look then at how God prepares his prophets and apostles. One of the best
passages that describes this is found in Pauls second letter to the Corinthians.
2 Corinthians 4:5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus
the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.
6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined in our hearts, to
[give] the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be
from God, and not from us.
8 [We are] troubled on every side, yet not distressed; [we are] perplexed, but not in
9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of
Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
11 For we which live are always delivered over to death for Jesus' sake, that the life
also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.
12 So then death works in us, but life in you.
13 We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and
therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;
14 Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and
shall present [us] with you.
15 For all things [are] for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the
thanksgiving of many rebound to the glory of God.
16 For which cause we do not faint; but though our outward man is perishing, yet the
inward [man] is renewed day by day.
17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, produces for us a far more
exceeding [and] eternal weight of glory;
18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen:
for the things which are seen [are] temporal; but the things which are not seen [are]
I am going to look at some of the verses from this passage and discuss each aspect as
it relates to the preparation of the prophet.
For many who are called to the Prophetic Office there is an excitement at the prospect
of becoming one who speaks for God and stands forth as one elevated to such an office. You
expect God to grant great and wonderful revelations, and as you speak them forth people
will stand in awe and wonder and wish they had the privilege you have been given. Imagine
being able to tell people what Gods purpose is for their lives? Imagine being able
to pray for someone and have God reveal to you things about that person that they did not
tell you. Imagine being able to release the blessing of God into the lives of others. It
certainly seems like a very exciting calling.
But for most who receive this call, there comes a sudden shock when they find
themselves being rejected, despised and ostracized because of their ministry. Instead of
people admiring you and respecting the authority that God has placed in you, you suddenly
find yourself being opposed and put down. No one seems to understand the burden that burns
in you. And when you speak forth the Prophetic Word, those who know you are quick to put
it down and tell you that you are out of order, or that you have missed it. And then to
top it off, it turns out that they are sometimes correct. You open your mouth to speak
what you thought was a Word from the Lord, and you are way out in left field.
[We are] troubled on every side, yet not distressed;
What is happening here? You are starting to enter into the preparation phase for the
office of prophet. And the first sign of this is when everything in your life starts to go
wrong. Thats right, your life looks as though it is coming apart. In Pauls
words in the passage above, you are troubled on every side. You know what it is like when
you get up in the morning and it is one of those days when you wish you had stayed in bed.
Everything you touch turns sour. Your family members all seem to be against you. Your
spouse starts to fight with you. And when you arrive at work the boss and your fellow
workers seem to pick up on it. You go to church hoping for some relief and the Pastor and
other church members seem to have caught the vision too, and feel they have been called to
put you in your place.
Ever been there? If you are called to be a prophet then I know you have been there. In
fact if you have not been there, then something is wrong somewhere. Perhaps you
werent called to be a prophet after all. And I want to tell you what happens when
everything in your life goes wrong like this. The first part of you that starts to let you
down is your emotions. You feel so low that you begin to despair of life. You lose all
desires and motivation to do anything significant. You begin to wonder even if the call to
be a prophet was not just something you made up or imagined. So the first and most
significant part of your soul life is put out of action.
But the Scripture tells you that you do not need to be distressed. When all this starts
to happen you dont have to throw your hands up in despair and give up. You realize
that the Lord is in a most wonderful way, starting to make you into a vessel that is fit
for His use. He is starting to put the earthen vessel into the fire to make it into
something beautiful. Have you never seen what a clay pot looks like before they bake it?
It lacks all the shine and beautiful colors that it should have. They have been painted
on, but they do not begin to show up until the pot has been put into the fire. Then the
glaze and the colors start to show.
[we are] perplexed, but not in despair
Once your emotions have been put out of action, the next thing that God has to deal
with is your ability to figure your way out of things. One of the things that often stands
in the way of the prophet clearly hearing the voice of God is the voice of his own mind.
Your mind has a habit of subjecting everything you receive from the spirit to its own
close scrutiny and analysis. You try to reason out what God is saying and why He is saying
it, and try to make sense of the Word He has given you. But this tendency, especially in
those who are prone to the analytical temperamental traits, can become a great hindrance
to the pure flow of prophetic revelation.
So what happens? You are brought into circumstances that defy all logic and
explanation. The Lord leads you into situations that predispose you to things that bring
total confusion in your mind, until you end up so perplexed by your situation that you
cannot figure your way out. There just is no solution to the problem. This can take many
forms. It can be a financial crisis or an interpersonal relationship crisis, but whatever
it is, you can be sure that it will cause you to be backed into a corner, and there will
be no natural way out. You will have to give up trying to find your own solution.
But once again, you do not have to end up in despair. You do not have to throw up your
hands and wish you had never been born, like Job did when everything went wrong in his
life. All that is happening is that the Lord is trying to get your attention. He is trying
to tell you that you cannot rely on your natural mental capabilities. That these will let
you down, but His Word will never let you down. He wants you to realize that your ability
to be a prophet has nothing to do with your keen mind.
Persecuted, but not forsaken
As if all of that is not bad enough, the next thing you find appearing in your life is
opposition from people who you thought would support you. Of course you expected
opposition from the world. You probably even expected it from those who are not walking
closely with the Lord. You certainly expected it from those whom you rebuked because of
their sin. But that is not where it comes from. It comes from within the fold. It comes
from those who are the closest to you, and from whom you expected the greatest support and
understanding. It will come from your own family members and those who are close to you.
It will come from your own spiritual leadership and close friends and family of God.
And do you know what happens when people start to persecute you? They force you to do
what they think is right, and they prevent you from doing what you want to do. Your
ability to choose your own way is blocked. In other words, your free will is put out of
action. Now you cannot freely make any choices for yourself. Instead you are forced to
follow the choices of others. Can you see what has happened now? The first two things we
spoke of put your emotions and your mind out of action. Now this one puts your will out of
action. That means that emotions, mind and will are all put on hold. These are the three
functions of the soul, and when they are all blocked, your soul life is put out of action
and brought to a condition of death.
But once more there is hope even in this situation. Because although it looks like the
whole world is against you and no one is standing with you, the Word says that you are not
forsaken. There is still one who is there for you. And if you will just reach out your
hand to Him, He will take it and lead you on. But now you will be led like a blind person.
You will not be able to rely on your own senses, but only on His leading. You wont
be able to go by what you feel. You wont be able to go by what you think. You
wont be able to go by what you choose. But you will only be able to follow as He
leads. And that is the place He wants to bring you to.
cast down, but not destroyed
Well you might think that all we have looked at so far is about as much as any person
can take, but I have some bad news for you. It is not over yet. Because you see, the
self-life that is in you is still alive and well. And although you might be forced to walk
humbly before the Lord, there still remains that deep inner need for recognition. It is
the one thing that drives us all to achieve in this life. We push ourselves beyond our
limits at times, so that we can somehow succeed and receive the rewards of our success
recognition from man. As a preacher and servant of God, you cry out for the time
when you can successfully proclaim the Word of the Lord and have others tell you how well
Is this pride? Not necessarily. It is just the way we are. And if you speak to any
successful person you will find that this is the strongest motivation they have. It is
seldom money that makes a person strive to succeed, whether in work, education or physical
accomplishments. It is the deep cry for recognition from others. And the acclaim that
comes with being praised for your efforts makes it worth all the time and labor you spent
getting there. Without this motivation few would ever succeed in anything in life. But for
the prophet, this motivation must bow to the call of God and the faithful proclamation of
Often the faithful discharge on the prophets duties will lead to the complete
opposite. The prophets of the Old Covenant knew this only too well. Many of them were
stoned to death and humiliated and treated shamefully because of their faithfulness to
their ministry. And that is exactly what will happen when you are put through the
prophetic preparation. You will be cast down, or humiliated. This can take place either by
others putting you down, or it can take place by you opening your mouth and declaring
something totally false or out of order. You could find yourself wanting to sneak out the
back way without anyone noticing. You feel like you could crawl under the door while it is
still closed. It is not a pleasant experience.
But whichever form it takes, be sure that it will happen to you. You can count on it.
Why? So that your ministry can never depend on or be influenced by your need for
recognition. If it were, then you cannot speak the unadulterated word of God. You will
temper the prophetic word with your own ideas and fail to speak forth the truth for fear
that people will reject you for it. And once again the promise is there that though you
might go through this painful experience, you will not be destroyed. The Lord does not
want to take away this thing from you. In fact He delights in giving you all the
recognition you deserve. But like all other things, it must first be brought to the cross.
Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus,
that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
Well are we there yet? Is it over yet? Am I ready to be a prophet now? Well almost, but
not quite. You see although the soulish life is the greatest hindrance to hearing clearly
from the Spirit of God that dwells in your spirit, it is not simply the soul that is the
problem. It is the tendency of the soul to submit to the body instead of the spirit. This
is what the Bible calls walking in the flesh. We will cover it in a lot of
detail in our studies in Anthropology. The body has desires of its own, which when allowed
to dominate our lives result in the root causes to all spiritual problems. You can see
this in our studies on Counseling.
When the natural bodily desires of nourishment, reproduction and self-preservation come
to dominate our lives, they give rise to covetousness, lust and bitterness. So the body
must also be brought into subjection. That does not mean that God is going to permit
sickness and disease to come upon you. We are redeemed from these things, which are part
of the curse of the law. However it is likely that you will be led into a situation that
could cause your body to come under attack. And you will find yourself facing situations
where you cannot eat the food that you desire. Where you cannot fulfill the passions even
in marriage, and where you are unable to defend yourself. You end up like the Scriptures
describe Jesus, a sheep dumb before its shearers, a lamb being led to the slaughter.
The chances are that you will face the loss of all things that are dear to you. Those
sentimental possessions that you have gathered over the years that mean so much to you,
are things that prevent you from being free to do the will of God. The house that you
built and spent years renovating might be stopping you from traveling to where God wants
you to go. You might even face a choice of rescuing your marriage or going with the call
of God. Because your partner might decide to reject that call, and force you to do the
same. You might have to leave the community where you grew up. You might have to give up
the career that you worked so hard for.
All the things that make for a comfortable physical existence are likely to put in
question, and you might have to make some difficult choices to continue in the path of
Gods calling in your life. Because you see, the Lord is bringing you to death of all
things. And every part of you that stands in the way of you carrying out His call
effectively will have to bow before the desire to put Gods Kingdom first in your
When Jesus was crucified on the cross of Calvary He faced terrific physical pain, but
He also faced much more than that. He faced rejection by His own people. He faced the
torture and humiliation of the Roman soldiers. He was deserted by those who loved Him. And
then He was publicly humiliated as they stripped Him nearly naked and took away even the
very clothes that He wore. But the height of His suffering was as He hung there on the
cross and turned towards the only One who really cared for Him and on whom He could rely
His heavenly Father. And that was when He faced the most painful part of His death.
Because even the Father turned His back and looked the other way.
But our Savior showed us how to die. He cried out with a loud voice. "It is
finished." And then He handed himself over to the Father and gave up His spirit.
People didnt usually die this way on the cross. They would hang and suffer there
until they became exhausted from struggling to stay alive. They would continually push
themselves up on the cross by their feet so that they could still breathe. Only when
exhaustion set in and they had no more energy left would they stop doing this, and then
they would suffocate to death. That is why the Romans decided to break the legs of the
prisoners when Jesus was crucified, so that they would die more quickly.
Now I want to show you what the Lord taught me from death by crucifixion. Paul said in
"I have been crucified with Christ."
He was speaking about us becoming identified with Jesus in His death. And although our
old nature was nailed to the cross with Jesus, and we by faith now reach out and take that
death and apply it to ourselves, it takes an experimental application of the cross to our
lives to cause sin to be dealt with in the flesh. Positionally we are dead to sin, and
alive to God. And legally we are considered as righteous before God because of what Jesus
did on the cross. And since Jesus paid the price for our sins, we do not come into
judgment for our sin, though we still fail and sin daily. We are delivered once and for
all from the guilt and penalty of our sin, because of the Finished Work of Calvary.
But we find that sin still has a power in our life. Paul describes in Romans 7 the
experience of one who is trying to live righteously but find himself still doing the very
sin that he hates. So sin is still there in our bodies. Its power still seems to follow
us. And the Christian life is one of coming to grips with the power of sin and overcoming
it. It involves a practical application of the cross to our experience, so that sin no
longer has any power or influence in us. Until one day when Jesus returns, we will be
transformed and receive our glorified and sinless bodies. And finally we will be totally
free from sin and live eternally in His presence in a state of sinless perfection.
These three things are what are known as the three tenses of salvation, and we will be
studying them in detail under the heading of Soteriology the doctrines of
salvation. It is the past, present and future of salvation, and can be stated like this.
We live in the present tense of salvation, and this is a continual process. And for the
prophet of God, this becomes abundantly more obvious than it does in the life of the
ordinary believer. You see there has to come death to all of those things that prevent the
prophet from operating efficiently. And then there can come a resurrection as Gods
power is released to shine forth. But the prophet must make a choice in the matter. God
does not willingly subject us to the pressures needed to bring about that death.
You see no one can experience the death of the cross alone. You cannot commit suicide
by crucifixion. You can only hold up your hands and invite someone to nail you to the
cross. And if you wish to go through the preparation and the death that it entails, then
you have to commit yourself to the Lord and invite Him to prepare you. And when you do
this, you can expect to feel some nails being driven in. You can expect to have someone
spit in your face, and push a crown of thorns on your head. And you can expect those who
are closest to you to desert you.
But the final death can only come when you make a choice to let go. While you push up
on the cross and struggle to stay alive, the pain will only continue. But when you can
with the Lord Jesus declare, "It is finished," and yield up your spirit in
death, then it will end. And there will come a season in the grave followed by the
victorious resurrection of your ministry in the fullness of power. If you dont allow
this to happen, then you become a candidate for leg breaking. And the Lord has to take
drastic measures to bring you fully to the end of yourself.
You are reading this study as one who has been called by God to the Prophetic Office.
And if this was a true calling, you know and acknowledge that what I have said is true.
And you have been going through the mill. The pressure has been on, probably for a long
period of time already. The chances are you are totally confused by all of this and do not
understand what has been happening. That is why I have prepared this study to make it
clearer for you. And I want to assure you now that it is not necessary for the pain to
continue. You can end it all very quickly by recognizing what God is telling you and
coming to the end.
You must stop struggling and yield to what has been happening. When you are falsely
accused you must not try to defend yourself and seek justification or vindication. But you
must submit yourself humbly and die. And when you do this, all the turmoil will cease. The
noise will disappear. And there will come a calm such as you have never known in a long
time. And there will come a deep stirring inside you that you will not be able to
understand. Now is the time to let go of all effort and ministry. In fact you would
probably do better to avoid any kind of spiritual activity at all. Just get involved in
something secular. And leave the Lord to do His work in secret, because the body is now
placed in the tomb.
Jesus spent three full days in the tomb, and during that period He accomplished our
redemption from the powers of darkness. They thought they had defeated Him, but on the
third day He arose triumphant, with power and authority, having the keys of death and
Hades. He was given the Name above every other name. And He took His place in heaven,
sending forth the power of the Holy Spirit upon the church and interceding at the right
hand of the Father.
So once you have gone through death, there will come a waiting period, where you will
remain in the grave. And nothing will seem to be happening. Do not let it concern you,
because things are happening that you cannot see. Just wait for the resurrection, for it
will surely come. And when it comes, there will come a new power and a new authority. And
suddenly your ministry will spring forth in power and authority. And you will rise up to
take your place as a fully-fledged Prophet of God.
Of course that is not the end. There will be further times of training and further
deaths to go through. Each new stage in your development will follow a very similar trend.
But each one will also bring a greater depth of understanding and involvement in the Body
You might ask me, "How do you know this is true? How can you be sure that this is
the way God works in preparing His prophets?" Well I have shown you from the
Scriptures, but you can rest assured that this servant of God has been there many times.
And I have worked with and helped to train many of Gods prophets. And I have seen
the process repeated in each one that has gone on for God and moved into a place of
authority in the Kingdom of God. If you desire to move into that office my brother or
sister, then there is no easy way around. Just as Jesus had to go the way of the cross, so
you and I will have to walk that way with Him if we aspire to the office of one who would
speak forth the Words of Almighty God into the earth.