Being the first of a new year interest in what God is saying about 2015 is at the top of everyone's minds. The Internet is abuzz with 'words from God' about everything from mystery planet Nibiru grazing the earth to California falling into the ocean, to Israel going to war, to the US economy crashing, and so much more.
How is a Christian supposed to know what is real, what is marketing, what is the flesh, and finally, what God is really saying to His people? Before I answer that last question about what He is really saying, some ground rules to know His ways:
First thing: I AM
This is a lesson for anyone who has ever had the Lord show them something future for their lives or others, and many lives have been ruined and hard lessons learned because they didn't under this principle. The Lord is the I AM, meaning He is ever present.
Therefore when He reveals something to your spirit about anything, or someone gives you a prophetic word, or you sense something future for another person, it feels like NOW. That is only because HE is NOW, the I AM, the ever-present One. But it doesn't mean you are to do that thing now, throwing away common sense and planning.
In Acts 26:13-18 Paul is telling his testimony to King Agrippa and quotes what the Lord told him the day He appeared to him outside Damascus: "...I have appeared to you for this purpose...and you will be a witness of things you have seen and things about which I will appear to you later...and to deliver you from the people and from the Gentiles, unto whom I now send you..."
But it was at least 10 years before he went to the Gentiles
He spent 3 years in Arabia receiving revelation, and THEN went to see Peter. Luke compresses Acts 9 for the sake of his readers, but Paul tells us 3 years passed before he met Peter and the apostles. And it was about 7 more years after that before he started ministering to the Gentiles. (Galatians 1:13-18, Acts 9:22-28, 13:46-48; Acts 9 was about 35AD, Acts 13:46 about 45AD)
I know of someone who went to Hong Kong because God had told her He was calling her there, and against everyone's counsel she went with no money, no financial support, and ended up calling the church begging for a plane ticket home 2 months later.
Was she called? Perhaps, but she should have let it develop with the understanding that it was the I AM who told her that, the ever present One. But He didn't mean she had to go right then, He didn't expect nor want her to throw away common sense. It was her responsibility to provide support for herself, and He would have helped her, but she was presumptuous and acted immediately and suffered as a result.
We don't try to make things come to pass, we don't try to help God because we think we've figured out how it will happen, we are to use common sense and allow Him to guide our steps.
I've known people to quit good paying jobs because God spoke to them He had another position for them that would be a promotion, or He said they were called to ministry - and it felt like NOW - so they quit their job and languished in confusion and financial distress wondering what God was doing to them - THEY were 100% at fault because they over-spiritualized what He said to the point they laid down common sense.
So when someone has a prophecy for you, or they say it is for the world or nation, understand it feels like RIGHT NOW, immediate, imminent. Remember, to the Lord 'soon' is often years or decades to us. In the OT He was warning Israel of their destruction 150 years before it actually happened, but it felt like 'now'.
Second thing: Prophecy is linear
What I mean is that in Ephesians 3:3-6 Paul talks about how the mystery that was kept secret from the foundations of the world but is now revealed to the apostles and prophets, that Gentiles would be fellow-heirs of the covenant. Can you imagine? Paul says Gentiles getting saved was a mystery not revealed until Pentecost!
This mystery is mentioned several times, Romans 16:25-26, Colossians 1:26-27 among them. One of my favorite verses, "Christ in you, the hope of glory" is in context talking about Gentiles having Christ in them, which Paul says, is a revelation of the mystery once kept secret from ages and generations.
That means all prophecy in the Old Testament appears to go in a straight line with nothing about the church in between - it is linear. For instance, Ezekiel 36 and 37 prophesy Israel becoming a nation again, then chapters 38 & 39 tell of a world war with Israel and allies fighting against the future nation Russia and allies, and then immediately into chapter 40 seeing the Millennial Temple and Messiah ruling the earth.
Somewhere in there is about 2,000 years of Gentiles getting saved, but Ezekiel hadn't had that revealed to him, so what the Lord tells him is in a straight line with no clue about events in between verses, sometimes whole centuries between verses.
Jesus' first message is in Luke 4:18-23. He quoted Isaiah 61:1-2 stopping mid-sentence: "...and to preach the acceptable year of the Lord." and He sat down and said "...this day this passage is fulfilled."
But if you read Isaiah 61:1-2 you find He stopped mid-sentence: "...to preach the acceptable year of the Lord and the day of vengeance of our God, and to comfort those who mourn (after the day of vengeance)." Why did Jesus stop mid-sentence to say He was fulfilling the acceptable year of the Lord, but did not finish the rest of the sentence about the day of vengeance of our God?
He stopped because He could not reveal that in between the acceptable year of the Lord and the day of vengeance of our God, was a 2,000 year period inserted for the Gentiles to become part of the covenant. It was still a mystery kept in the Father's own knowledge until Pentecost.
So for that reason Jesus stopped mid-sentence. Now think - for centuries pious Jews had debated Isaiah 61:1-2 about this single day, the day of the acceptable year of the Lord and the day of vengeance of our God. Teachings were made, 'revelation' about that verse circulated - and it was all done with a degree of error because the Father had not revealed a 2,000 year gap mid-sentence. They drew conclusions based on partial information. Hold that thought...
Let me tie it all together thus far...
In the same way the Father kept secret from mankind that He would open up His covenant with Israel to all nations, to whomever will respond in faith, so too has He kept within His knowledge the time of the Rapture and the 2nd coming of Christ - Jesus told us plainly no man knows the hour nor day, not the angels, not even Him, but the Father only. And while the Rapture is foretold in the Feast of Trumpets, the 5th festival of Israel and first of the fall festivals, it doesn't say when that event will happen. (Matthew 24:36, Acts 1:7)
That means prophecy we hear about in our day about the end times is also linear - He skips right over the rapture and 2nd coming because it is not revealed to mankind the timing of these events.
As a result, many teachers find themselves today, like the Rabbi's of long ago debating Isaiah 61 - they draw conclusions and get people all worked up about things kept secret within the Father's knowledge, not having a clue there are gaps in prophecy because the Father is keeping those things to Himself. Teachers who draw conclusions about the timing of such things are equal in error to the Rabbi's from Isaiah to Jesus, because they too have partial information and should not be drawing conclusions nor making assumptions.
Stay away from end times preachers who draw conclusions as to timing, because they do so based on partial information. Remember, to the I AM, all things are imminent. But the unwise in the ways of the Father jump to conclusions that cause worry, fear, and confusion. James says confusion is man's/world's wisdom, God's wisdom is pure and peaceful. Stay with peace.
So California might fall into the ocean. And maybe Yellowstone National Park may explode and wipe out most of the US, and maybe St. Louis and Memphis will have a massive earthquake, but prophecy is linear - that could happen in the Tribulation, it could happen at the 2nd coming. It could happen at the end of the Millennial age when the earth is remade by fire - we just don't know.
Whether the Lord tells you something for your own life, or for the life of another, or a prophetic word or dream for your nation, realize even a revelation of horrible events if given by Him, is wrapped in peace. And it may feel like NOW, but realize He is I AM so that is normal. Use wisdom, stay in peace, and more next week...until then, blessings!