Are there people today who have the ability to prophesy? Many Christians claim to hear from the Holy Spirit concerning future events, even being able to know intimate details of people’s lives that they’ve never met. Many other Christians claim that the scriptures are all we need and the gift of prophecy has ceased in our time. They point to the inaccuracy of prophecies from people who prophesy, or even worse, the use of prophecy for profit. But what do we do with all of these accurate, modern prophecies? And how do we deny the fact that if it’s administered properly, the gift of prophecy is a powerful gift that could even confirm to unbelievers the reality of Christ?
Today, I’m interviewing world-renowned prophetic voice and apostolic builder, Jeremiah Johnson. We’re talking about the essentials of the prophetic today.
Mike: Jeremiah, you’ve been operating in the prophetic for some time now, but people are reading who come from all backgrounds. Maybe they attend churches where they don’t believe that the gifts of the spirit are even currently in operation, or maybe they were told by the pastor we have one designated person that prophesies, and it’s not you. For the people who want more and are being raised in this hour, I want you to share the essentials as somebody who I trust. What would you say are the essentials?
The Essentials for Prophetic People
Jeremiah: A couple of things come to mind. I think it’s really important as we begin a conversation to recognize that there’s a difference between old covenant prophecy and new covenant prophecy. I don’t think that a lot of people understand that. So when you talk about the Old Testament underneath an old covenant, you had prophets who were the singular voice of God to a nation. In other words, the Holy Spirit didn’t dwell within man, He dwelled upon man.
And so, to get a direct word from God most of the time, unless God himself just showed up as he did with Abraham or others, the kings would seek out prophets for a word from the Lord. So, in other words, they were a mediator between God and man. So that’s Old Testament prophetic.
New Testament Prophets
Jeremiah: In the New Testament, Jesus Christ has become the mediator between God and man. Prophets are prophetic people. In the new covenant, prophets no longer hold the kind of authority that they did in the Old Covenant. The blood of Jesus has banned feeding tube Christianity. In other words, we have to make sure as New Testament prophetic people that we recognize that we have a role to encourage and comfort people and bring strength. If God has called you to the prophetic ministry, you’re a New Testament prophet, even there you have you offer direction, correction, and prediction, primarily those three. But you have to recognize the role that you have is different than that of an old covenant prophet.
So when you hear people make statements like, “Where are the Jeremiahs, the Isaiahs, the Ezekiels?” I’m like, “They’re dead.” I understand what they’re saying but that kind of authority and role in the New Testament church is no longer necessary. Jesus is the mediator between God and man. And if someone is functioning as a New Testament prophet, their number one role is not just to give you a word, it’s to teach you how to hear a word.
And so again, there’s a heavy dependence upon prophets in the old covenant, but now in the new covenant we prophesy but we teach people how to hear and obey God themselves.
Secondly, in the old covenant (and I’m still going back to this issue because so much of the confusion that’s available in the current prophetic movement is centered on the misunderstanding of the old covenant and new covenant) there’s a primary role of voice to the nation. In the new covenant, we’ve got Jesus, and the Holy Spirit leads and guides us into all truth. I would say that in the Old Testament, prophets were, for the most part, unaccountable.
Invited Into a Family
Jeremiah: They wandered around in caves, they weren’t well connected, and they just kind of dropped the word of the Lord in and then dropped out. Again, in the new covenant, we have now been established and invited into the family of God. So what I tell people is prophets and prophetic people in the old covenant were cave dwellers, but now in the new covenant, we’ve been invited to a family, to a dining room table where we no longer have permission to isolate.
A lot of the problem in the current prophetic movement is that prophetic people think, “I’m just a prophetic person, no one understands me, I operate in rejection and all church leadership are Pharisees and of the devil.” All of that kind of rhetoric and mindset is rooted in old covenant concepts. I very much believe that one of the primary issues in modern-day prophetic ministry is we are operating out of an old covenant mindset concerning the prophetic and we don’t understand New Testament reality.
So, if you are a prophet or prophetic person, you are called to equip the body for the work of ministry. How can you equip a body if you’re disconnected from them So when I talk to prophets or where do you attend church? What are you building or who is the person you’re helping to build? They just kind of look at you crazy. And again, kind of that crazy that comes on them is they have a crazy mindset rooted in a covenant that is now fulfilled in Christ Jesus.
So these two things are essential. Understanding your role as a prophet or prophetic person in the body is to point people to Jesus, to teach people how to hear and obey the voice of God for themselves. We’re not supposed to be raising a codependent, “You gotta sow a seed, you gotta fund my ministry or I’m not prophesying to you.” That’s bogus. And then we’ve gotta get over “lone ranger” mentalities in people that don’t believe in the local church and don’t believe in being part of a team. We need to get healthy in the prophetic.
Mike: I would like to unpack this a bit with you. What do you think happens in a prophetic person’s heart for them to say, “I’m wounded and not going to try the local church again.” Is it that we’re living in an era where there aren’t that many local churches that can incubate the prophetic and help it grow?
As a lead pastor myself, I’ll be honest with you, sometimes I do feel that is rare to find a pastor and church that appreciates the prophetic in other people. So I know there is a lot of woundedness there. You probably triggered a lot of people with what you just said. How can we turn this into a healing moment for someone who is wounded, knows what you said is true, but needs to take the next step? What does that look like?
The Cup of Rejection
Jeremiah: People get set free with the truth. Mike, I have ministered in over 500 churches and probably trained at least 10,000 prophetic people. I’ve If you got us all in a room, we’re all going to say the same thing because the profile of prophetic people is you have to accept that you will drink the cup of rejection on your way to prophetic maturity. Many prophetic people don’t want to receive that.
When you start talking to many of us, you find we were rejected by your family. Sometimes there are supernatural birth experiences, you were certainly thrown away by the local church. But we have to keep our eyes on Jesus, who was without sin. I oftentimes say we have no right to judge and criticize the church unless we’re willing to die for her.
We’ve all been rejected, we’ve all been wounded, and we’ve all served our Saul. But remember, you served Saul to get Saul out of you. In other words, we’re on a journey as prophetic people. You are going to get rejected, you are going to be misunderstood. But this is part of your training for love. Jesus Christ died for love. There was nothing he did wrong, There was no dirt on him, but he still chose to love.
So, Mike, I hear it, I’ve trained them, I’ve walked with them. Every true prophetic called person is going to go to the wilderness as part of their calling but not everybody gets out. In other words, many are called, and few are chosen. Many are called to the prophetic ministry where you’re going to drink that cup of rejection. But very few walk in forgiveness. Very few learn how to heal.
All for Love
Jeremiah: And again, who’s our example? Jesus Christ, King of kings, Lord of lords. He walked this out as the greatest prophet who ever lived. And he invites prophets and prophetic people today to drink that cup of rejection. And again, I would love to tell people listening today, “Hey, God’s going to send you to a great church. They’re gonna love the prophetic.” That’s not true. Actually, God is going to send a lot of people. He is going to send you to Sauls. He is gonna send you to assemblies and places that are going to crush you. They’re going to hurt you, they’re going to persecute you. And it’s in those trials and tribulations you have an opportunity to bear with the sufferings of Christ and learn how to walk in a pure prophetic flow.
Is Accuracy of Primary Importance?
Mike: Jeremiah, I’ve been studying the prophetic for over 30 years now. That stretch of an answer was the most profound answer I have ever heard. The whole time I was thinking, you just saved some people decades. You just saved some people years if they’ll let that get in their spirit.
I think the biggest emphasis with the prophetic is always accuracy, right? How can I be accurate? I think what I hear you saying is that new covenant prophecy is more about being integrated into the body and it’s more about your position than it is about your accuracy if that makes sense. Because trying to migrate somebody into integration where you are a part of something, you’re building something, there’s a legacy connected to it in the body of Christ. And so what would you say to those who are like, okay, I get it, I want to learn how to become more accurate. What would you say about accuracy?
Jeremiah: I think it’s going back to that misunderstanding of covenants. In the old covenant when people would prophesy and it wasn’t 100% accurate, they would stone them. And if you go and look at that Deuteronomy passage that most people quote about stoning false prophets when it’s talking about false, it’s talking about prophets who have a motivation in their heart that is trying to lead people away from Jesus.
Let the Others Judge
Jeremiah: In a new covenant, I quote 1 Corinthians 14, which says, “Let two or three prophets speak and let the others judge.” So, the old covenant prophecy was infallible because it was the very words of God. But in the new covenant prophecy is fallible. Prove it. Why do two or three prophets have to judge another prophet’s words if the word’s 100% accurate? It’s not.
Or in 1 Thessalonians 5, when it talks about prophecy, it says let everybody go, but then hold on to that which is good. In other words, not every prophecy that is prophesied is good. So I would say the goal is not accuracy, although we should have a high standard.
My thing is, I don’t look at somebody as a true prophet necessarily because they’ve prophesied 100% accurately. I look at true prophets as people that prophesy accurately, but if they miss it, they repent. They own it. They walk in humility. I contrast this with the perspective of, “Oh, they prophesied and it didn’t come to pass, they’re a false prophet.” I think they’re more false if they operate in pride and arrogance and refuse to own it, versus walking in humility and dying to their reputation and saying, “I missed it.”
And again, it’s all about Jesus. Half the time I’m like, thank God, I don’t know any prophets that are 100% accurate. And you know what? I thank God for that because it aligns me with Jesus. Only he is 100% accurate. So, I don’t think the goal is accuracy, although it’s very, very important. I think the goal is humility. It’s being connected to family and serving the body of Christ like Jesus.
Mike: This has been a great conversation, and I want to encourage everyone to get ahold of the resources that Jeremiah Johnson has that help to equip the saints. There is one book in particular that will help you go deeper on this journey to continue learning about the prophetic called “Cleansing and Igniting the Prophetic: An Urgent Wake-Up Call” by Jeremiah Johnson if you’d like to continue learning.
The Current Prophetic Purging
Jeremiah: I could talk hours and hours and hours on these subjects but if you’re wanting to dive deeper, there is a cleansing, there is a purging, there is almost a reset happening in the prophetic movement. And that’s why people are on today. You’re asking questions, you want knowledge. God is highlighting prophetic ministry because he wants to call forth a generation of fire-brand messengers who are going to prophesy out of humility and character and hit the mark. So check out that book.
Essential Do’s and Dont’s of The Prophetic
Mike: If you could give me a very fast 60-second rundown, what are some essential dos and donts?
Jeremiah: If you’re called as a prophet or a prophetic person, do not isolate yourself. You have to understand that you’re going to be rejected but you do not have to operate out of a spirit of rejection.
You need to know that the enemy of the prophetic is Jezebel. There is a great war concerning hearing and obeying God and the spirit of Jezebel will target you and try to keep you from hearing and obeying God.
I would also say to be aware of your tendencies. Do not ignore what you feel, the burden that you’re carrying. And then I would say, do not operate in bitterness. Do not operate in unforgiveness. Do walk in humility, love, and forgiveness.
And, lastly, you need mentoring. You have to have fathering and mothering in the prophetic to make it through the wilderness. I would say at all costs if you’re a prophet or a prophetic person, seek wisdom, seek mentoring, seek mothering and fathering. It saves my life and I believe it will save yours.
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