Costa Concordia raised; and A Word about Prophecy
Sep 17, 2013
On the night of January 13, 2013 the Costa Concordia cruise liner sank off the coast of Italy. Reporters compared it to the sinking of the Titanic.
At the time, I was looking for a Passover sign of some kind and connected this event to the Euro debt crisis then being reported. The ship’s decks were named for European countries, so it appeared that it represented Europe collapsing under the debt crisis.
But last night salvagers finally brought the ship back from the dead.
This has to be a resurrection sign, and it appears to be applicable to Europe’s debt crisis. There are two kinds of resurrection in Scripture. The first is when a person, recently deceased, is raised from the dead. In that case the person comes alive, but remains mortal and dies later. The second is when a person is raised to immortality.
It is hard to know what type of resurrection we are observing today with Europe (and by extension the Western banking system). But the ship sank as a Passover sign. (January is our first month, and it sank technically on the 14th of the month.) And now it is raised on the third day from the Day of Atonement (Jubilee). This appears to be a good sign. I suspect that something has happened behind the scenes that will facilitate a “change” in the world banking structure that will be benefit to all.
I have written in the past about the financial war between East and West. Perhaps in the months ahead we will see confirmation that the East has won this power struggle and that the banking system will be changed to a more equitable system.
We will continue to follow this in the days and months ahead.
A Word about Prophecy
Every so often I need to explain something about prophecy, due to new (and/or forgetful readers). Simply put, there is a difference between prophecy and one’s understanding of prophecy.
The Bible is the word of God. In the general sense, all inspiration is prophecy, but some Scripture is more historical or poetic, rather than strict prophecy in the narrow definition of the word. Even the historical parts are prophetic, of course, because (for example) the story of Joseph was a prophetic type of Israel being lost and found. The story of Absalom overthrowing David was a prophetic pattern of the New Testament story of Christ’s throne being usurped by the priests.
Yet in later generations, such as ours, when we teach or preach Scripture, we usually set forth our understanding of prophecy. We do not usually prophesy, but rather we talk about Bible prophecy in order to give our best understanding and insight into the divine plan. Ideally, I suppose, all preachers ought to prophesy, and indeed, some define all preaching as prophecy. But in my view, it is more helpful to distinguish between biblical history and prophecy, and so also is it more helpful to distinguish between prophecy and one’s understanding.
The difference is that our understanding is partial, even if what we know is 100% correct. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:9, “we know in part, and we prophesy in part.”
We are all called to hear God’s voice, so in that general sense, we are all prophets. Even Caiaphas, the high priest who usurped the throne of Christ, prophesied (John 11:50, 51). One does not need to believe in Christ in order to prophesy. God can speak through anyone, and for this reason we need to be alert, because He speaks through some very strange vessels indeed.
In fact, most prophecy is inadvertent. The story of Baalam shows that a prophet can have a fleshly motive and still prophesy truth. In fact, nowhere does Scripture call Balaam a “false prophet,” although we know that he greatly misused his gift.
Our goal, as aspiring overcomers, is to speak only what we hear our Father say. In that sense, we are all prophets or aspiring prophets in the general sense. Yet it is evident that we all fall short of the ideal, and hence, we often speak out of the flesh, rather than out of the Spirit. Does this make us “false prophets”? Perhaps, but if we were all stoned for this offense, the world would immediately be depopulated. God gives a lot of grace in this area.
The point is, we should distinguish between prophecy and the general mandate to hear God’s voice. In the general sense, as we are learning to hear God’s voice, we should not have to be afraid of sharing what we believe we have heard. Unfortunately, there are some who are too quick to label people as “false prophets” whenever a word is (or seems to be) wrong. This tends to stifle those who are learning to hear and discern, because they live in fear of being judged for hearing incorrectly.
The church ought to teach and guide people in love, rather than establish fear in the learning environment. And students should have room to grow and learn. It is better to launch out and be wrong than to stifle the word in us out of fear of being wrong. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:29-31,
29 And let two or three prophets speak, and the others pass judgment [diakrino, “distinguish, discriminate, decide, discern”] … 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted [parakleo, “be comforted, encouraged, helped”].
It appears that in the early church there were prophets who could “speak” the word of God, but at the same time the other (prophets) were called to discern and to decide the truth of that word or how to understand it. In other words, Paul assumed that even prophets could be wrong. Nothing is said about condemning a prophet for a fleshly word or “false prophecy,” although in some cases this might be necessary. Yet it seems to have been an accepted practice in the early church to share prophetic words or insights and then discuss this with the others. Paul gives no hint that this was to be done in a spirit of fear, but in an atmosphere of love and the desire to know the will of God.
There is also a difference between the gift of prophecy and the office of prophet. Anyone can receive a gift of prophecy. Such a gift can come from time to time when necessary. Even Balaam’s ass received the gift of tongues and prophecy, which Balaam himself felt it necessary to judge. All men may prophesy, but not all men hold the prophetic office.
On rare occasions, I have been known to prophesy, but I have the office of a teacher. Most of what I do is to teach about prophetic things. As a teacher, I need to know by experience what I teach, so that I may teach from the heart, and not from the head. And so God has caused me on various occasions to experience all of the offices of the five-fold ministry in Ephesians 4:11.
That five-fold ministry is like the fingers on a hand. The thumb is the apostle, and the little finger is the teacher. The thumb is anchored by the little finger, and so in some ways the teacher and the apostle were meant to work together and have some similarities. The apostle normally carries all of the five offices, while the teacher must at times be able to teach about all of them. That way all of these offices may receive instruction to help them learn, grow, and perform each office with greater effectiveness.
As a teacher, I love to teach the Scriptures. But I feel the need also to teach prophetic things, so that all can learn how to read the signs of the times. We all need to know the divine plan, so we all need to know Bible prophecy. But we also need to know more specifically the times in which we live. Hence, I draw people’s attention to certain world events to show evidence of the fall of Babylon and the rise of the Kingdom.
When I share economic or political articles from the news media, it is because these events have a direct bearing on the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. These events give us greater insight into the manner in which God is overthrowing man’s systems and establishing His Kingdom in the earth.
Even beyond that, we may each observe more personal events and signs by which we are each led by the Spirit day by day. If it seems like I share too many personal signs, it is not because I think I am the only one who experiences such things. Rather, it is to give you personal examples so that you may learn from them how to observe with spiritual eyes the events in your own life. It is the same reason that the biblical writers tell the stories of certain people who lived long ago. It is more than just a written record of events that occurred long ago. It is to show us the possibilities of how God may work today.
This is one of the main reasons why I wrote my book, The Wars of the Lord. I did not write it to set myself above anyone, nor to present myself as any great thing, but rather to teach you by real-life examples how to observe events and signs and what can be accomplished by just following the leading of the Spirit. Faith is a powerful force that can move mountains. But faith is just a simple matter of hearing and obeying.
We just came through a 40-day prayer campaign. In this, I was privileged to meet and make new friends. Some of them were new at this type of work. For some, it was literally their first prayer campaign. Some knew little or nothing about intercession prior to this time. Yet they learned by on-the-job training and were able to observe and learn from those who were more experienced.
I think it seemed incredible to some that we could actually change the world by making a prophetic decree, or by blowing a shofar, or by doing some other action by faith. After all, it is not like seeing someone healed immediately by a prayer of faith. Intercession nearly always needs patience, because the results are more long-term. We may see immediate signs, but the actual results can take a long time to become visible. Individuals can be healed immediately, but the Kingdom comes without observation—much like watching a tree grow or water erode a rock.
Intercession and spiritual warfare are ways to apply what we have learned after studying the Scriptures. Bible study is good, but if it does not change your life or lead you to some course of action, then it has little effect in the earth. Bible study should teach us to be led by the Spirit in whatever course that may take.
I have found that virtually all of us are involved in intercession, whether we know it or not. Once we understand intercession, then we discover how we have been doing it all along, and this explains many of our past experiences. Once we understand why we had to go through those experiences—some not so pleasant—we can bring closure to many of those past events, for we see God’s purpose.
Spiritual warfare is also something that many of us experience without realizing it. We often go through difficulties in life without realizing that we have been caught up unawares in some spiritual battle in the heavens. It happened to me in 1981-1982, and if anyone had been able to explain it to me during that time, I would have appreciated it greatly. Difficulties in life are always more bearable when you see the purpose.
Finally, it has been some time since I reminded you that whenever I share what I believe to be a direct word to me from the Father, I put in Bold Type. You will find many such words in my book, The Wars of the Lord, and occasionally in other books. But whenever I share things in regular type, it is my understanding of the word. I am careful to make that distinction, and for this reason I normally share direct revelation only after I have had time to test it in the crucible of time. Direct revelation is sacred to me, and I do not share it lightly.
Dr. Stephen Jones