A lot has been going on in the world today and it shouldn’t take long for us to realise that we are truly in the last days. This has led me to look into various changes i have observed in the body of Christ, as well as question some of my previous beliefs in certain doctrines and ideas. Being from Nigeria, i have listened to weekly news updates so far on the various attacks by the islamic sect, boko haram, that has led to the deaths of many innocent people in the country. Also, being a citizen of a nation with a major part of the various systems and institutions rooted in corruption; from the government to business organizations, and sometimes even churches, this has made me wonder what our fate is in the world today.
I don’t expect every christian to agree with me on this, but i do believe in the apostolic-prophetic reformation that is taking place in the church today. And i believe it is part of God’s plan to prepare the church for the perilous times that have been prophesied to take place in the Bible. We must remember that we have received a kingdom that cannot be shaken. When everything else shakes in the earth and when it seems like all hope is gone for all, we must make sure our hope, faith and love is unshaken(See Hebrews 12:27-29). For a long time in the church the local assemblies of christians have been led by Pastors. Pastors have been made to function in all the offices of the 5-fold ministry described by Paul in Ephesians 4:11- He gave some to be Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers. His intention was the perfecting and the full equipping of the saints (His consecrated people), [that they should do] the work of ministering toward building up Christ’s body (the church).
It goes on to say in verse 13 that he gave these to the body for her to grow into the full stature of Christ- without spot,wrinkle or blemish. I do not believe that the church is fully developed yet, hence i believe the apostolic and prophetic offices should still be in operation.
However, i recognise that many false prophets will also rise up in the last days that will mislead many and will do signs and wonders. We must realise that if there will be false prophets that indicates there must also be true prophets. Without apology i know of a man in Nigeria who is a false prophet. You may ask me how you know the difference between false and true. I believe the simple difference between a false prophet and a true prophet is the fact that false prophets do not have good hearts. I do not believe that the fact that someone gifted in prophecy gives a wrong prophecy makes them false. I think most people gifted in prophecy are susceptible to giving a wrong word due to many issues such as an incorrect interpretation of a revelation(such as in dreams or visions etc) but i believe as you get more intimate in your fellowship with the Holy Spirit you start to understand what God is saying more clearly.
In addition to what i said about having a bad heart, the entire chapter of 1 John 4 makes it clearer what that might mean. For example i could tell why the man in Nigeria was a false prophet because he had claimed to being a christian since he was in his mother’s womb. He has no history of ever being in the world according to him. This is already in opposition to the scripture that says unless a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. I believe any prophetic ministry that does not stem out of a genuine love for God and his people has a tendency to be false. It is easy to get into pride as well as self-promotion with such a gift and once this happens you must re-evaluate yourself to test the spirit from which you are operating. We must always remember that God has given us a Spirit of Love(2 Timothy 1:8). I believe anyone with the gift of prophecy is susceptible to becoming a false prophet and hence we must always check our motives. For example, i am reluctant to people who always love using the official title ‘prophet’ a lot. This is very common in Nigeria as you have churches every 5 kilometers on the streets with many presuming to be prophets. Firstly, i believe that you might be gifted prophetically and have dreams and visions, angelic visitations and even get words of knowledge yet not be called to be in the office of a prophet. Paul said in the Bible that he wished that all may prophesy. ‘Desire earnestly spiritual gifts especially that you may prophesy’- 1 Corinthians 14:1b. Hence, i believe it is the will of God for all his people to prophesy. However, i believe the office of a prophet described in Ephesians 4:11 is only for those called to equip the saints for work of service. I believe that leaders in churches must always be called to that office and should not presume to be called because of giftings they have noticed in their lives. Secondly, i’ve noticed that most true prophets hardly ever call themselves by the title, except they are called by that title by another. I believe this shows humility. I don’t think that all that may call themselves by that title are false. Like i said earlier, its all to do with the heart. God is a God of hearts.
I also believe that when we test the spirits and test prophetic words given we must also be very careful to not be ‘faultfinders’ instead of true lovers of God and his people. Very often you have people who habitually test from a foundation of suspicion. This should not be so. We must test from a heart of love for God and his people. And even when we realise that something might be fishy somewhere, we must take out time to ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom in how exactly to react to what He has shown us. We must readily watch over our hearts because out of it flows the springs of life. You don’t want your springs to be polluted.
Finally,i believe that all prophecy must always reveal Jesus and lead us back into his arms. (I’m sure i must have left out a few points by the way).
“…For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy”(Revelation 19:10).