Exactly what value is there in prophesying all the great and wonderful things that are coming in the new year and in the next decade if we aren't dying to self and catching fire for Jesus?
Before all of you prophetic folks get triggered, understand that I am a mega-proponent of legitimate prophecy. Though there is a seriously unhealthy prophetic culture in our nation today, God is still speaking, and we need mature, broken and consecrated prophetic people to relay critical information. The messengers most certainly must cry out and awaken the church in these end times.
That being said, the prophetic nonsense must stop. Not once have I read or heard about any prophecy for 2020 that includes judgment, correction, rebuke or warning. To stuff our spiritual faces with nothing but happy prophetic thoughts is utter foolishness at best. At worst, it will seal the fate of our nation as one that started out godly and ended suddenly under God's wrath.
They have turned their back to Me and not their face. Though I taught them, rising up early and teaching them, yet they have not listened nor received instruction. But they set their abominations in the house which is called by My name, to defile it. They built the high places of Baal which are in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire to Molek, which I had not commanded them, nor did it come into My mind that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin (Jer. 32:33-35).
Though there are many amazing, consecrated and anointed men and women of God in our nation, people who tremble in the fear of the Lord and who are standing for righteousness, there are many more who are casual, lukewarm and sleepwalking.
Abortion is destroying the next generation as children are sacrificed at the altar of Molech. You'd be shocked at how few pastors and prophets speak out against it. You'd be sickened at how many actually support abortion. Homosexual activists are forcing their agenda, pornography is being devoured by the high majority of Christians including pastors and leaders, and it's nearly impossible to find a church with a spirit of prayer driving it. We are in crisis, yet the prophets seem to think God is well pleased and ready to pour out blessing without any thought of dealing with the depravity that both the church and our culture refuse to renounce.
Thus says the LORD of hosts: "Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD. They say continually to those who despise the word of the LORD, 'It shall be well with you'; and to everyone who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, 'No disaster shall come upon you.'" For who among them has stood in the council of the LORD to see and to hear his word, or who has paid attention to his word and listened? (Jer. 23:16-18, ESV).
Am I saying we can never prophecy blessing, promotion and open doors? No, I'm not. What I am saying is that simply focusing on the positive to the exclusion of the undeniable and terrifying reality that's staring us in the face is a serious misuse of a prophetic gift. Effectively, it's lying. Even worse, it's taking God's name in vain as His name is attached to impure and/or incomplete messages.
It's time the professional prophetic voices take a break and follow the instructions of Jeremiah 23:18. We need all prophetic people to give themselves night and day to prayer, consecration, tears, groans of intercession and the fear of the Lord. We all must stand in the counsel of the Lord!
There are warnings that must be sounded so we know how to respond. I can see America collapsing and people fuming in anger, asking why nobody warned them of what was to come. "Where were the prophets?" they will say.
To publish word after word about how blessing and promotion is our portion in 2020 will do little to nothing to prepare the people for what is to come. Honestly, it doesn't take much of a prophetic gifting at all to know the call for 2020 must be radical consecration, intercession, repentance and a fresh revelation of both the love and the fear of the Lord. We must stand in his counsel.
A Lukewarm Church
An apathetic, lukewarm church is at serious risk. Apathetic, lukewarm followers of Jesus are as well.
"And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: 'The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. "'I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you (Rev. 3:1-3).
Where are the prophets who are warning the church that God himself will come against it? Where are those who are shaking people out of their mediocrity and casual connection to God, awakening them from a lethal slumber? Do we even realize how dangerous such a life of apathy is? Most don't. The prophets aren't telling them. The pastors aren't either.
If we aren't burning white-hot on fire for Jesus, we had better stop and consider where we are in God. Our passion, fire and level of intimacy with Jesus absolutely impact where we will spend eternity, not to mention the future of our nation. There are millions of people who are lifting their hands in worship, praying, reading their Bible, serving and "living right" as they faithfully follow Jesus in an unsaved condition. They don't have passion for Jesus, and they have no oil in their lamps.
So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spit you out of My mouth. For you say, 'I am rich, and have stored up goods, and have need of nothing,' yet do not realize that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked (Rev. 3:16-17, MEV).
"But the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps have gone out.'
"The wise answered, 'No, lest there not be enough for us and you. Go rather to those who sell it, and buy some for yourselves.'
"But while they went to buy some, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
"Afterward, the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open the door for us.'
"But he answered, 'Truly I say to you, I do not know you.'
"Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming" (Matt. 25:8-13).
An Army of Prophetic Warriors
We must see prophetic schools emerge, training young and old to step into an assignment that has been mostly ignored by the current generation. We need an army of prophetic warriors and warners to emerge, people who have zero fear of man and who are functioning with the penetrating love of God that is perfectly synchronized with the paralyzing fear of God.
These warriors will spend their lives trembling, crying and interceding in the fire, standing in the counsel of God and releasing strike after strike of prophetic shock waves into our churches, regions and the nations of the earth.
While I am cautiously thankful for our president, and I do believe God is doing great things through him, I believe the prophets have erred in one critical area: many of them have prophesied President Trump's emergence as the goal, as the end game, as the answer to our nation's woes. The result is a people who are now putting too much hope in a man, without concern for their own holiness, passion or part in the story. The prophets must call God's people to repentance. This nation's ills should be resolved by the church, but instead, much of the church has abdicated that responsibility to a politician. Again, I am thankful God is using him, but I am also grieved that we have placed so much reliance on him. This national problem lays squarely at the feet of the prophets.
The army of raw, undignified and irritating prophetic messengers that God is raising up will bring a correction to this prophetic crisis. They will have no tolerance for the prophetic games that are being played by so many today. The terror of the Lord will drive them. Low-level, feel-good, happy words won't be entertained. In fact, they will irritate their spirits.
Too often, those who are immature in the prophetic will communicate a low-level impression or an uninvited, spontaneous thought as a prophetic word. The more abstract or unusual it is, the more they think it's God.
Folks, most of the time, these are simple imaginations. We have to stop encouraging people to prophesy haphazardly. So many of today's prophets never matured out of this but have been elevated to the public stage because of their charisma. As a result, the words coming out of their mouths are meant to create a positive vibe among the people and to enhance their ministry. They know negative words of judgment and correction won't do that. For the sake of their status, they steer clear of such prophecy.
preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths (2 Tim. 4:2-4, ESV).
A lot of itching ears in our nation can support a prophetic ministry very nicely. Well, a false prophetic ministry, at least. The emerging army of prophetic warriors won't care at all about money. The thought of focusing on building their ministry and solidifying their status is nonsense to them. The fear of people attacking them, speaking out against them and causing them trouble doesn't exist. Filling up their ministry calendar isn't a goal. They'd rather turn down invitations than accept them if God isn't burning in them to go.
2020 is here. Does God have good plans for His true, remnant church? Sure. However, His true church isn't primarily concerned about that. Those aren't the words they want to hear. They are in tune with the assault of the spirit of the age, with the immorality in the land, with the abominations that both the world and the church are in alignment with and with possible judgment and wrath that can strike our nation if we don't turn. They are crying out for God to prophetically speak about this stuff. They want to be warned, and they want to share those warnings with the world.
I'm not saying the following passage is a prophetic word, but it sure is a much better exhortation than many I'm reading concerning the new year. I propose we do this:
"When I shut up the heaven and there is no rain, or when I command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence on My people, if My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayer of this place (2 Chron. 7:13-15, MEV).
John Burton has been developing and leading ministries for over 25 years and is a sought out teacher, prophetic messenger and revivalist. John has authored ten books, is a regular contributor to Charisma Magazine, has appeared on Christian television and radio and directed one of the primary internships at the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City. A large and growing library of audio and video teachings, articles, books and other resources can be found on his website at www.burton.tv. John, his wife Amy and their five children live in Branson, Missouri.
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