Here is the thing to which the prophetic ministry all-inclusively relates: the original
ultimate purposes of God in and through His people.
We need to have something come into our consciousness as to the meaning of the words,
ultimate and God's ultimate purposes and even the church in its ultimate configuration
because whatever is ultimate is God's intention. To bring, therefore, the ultimate
requirement of God in a world that is temporal, expedient and compromising, is to find
ourselves in opposition to the whole spirit and tenor of the world. That same spirit has
unhappily come even into the church. There are not so many in the church who want to
hear about the ultimate purposes of God. If we will not, however, embrace the ultimate
purposes of God, then neither, ironically, will we have any relevance in His immediate
purposes. It is only in the investment of the ultimate that we have any practical
significance. It is a paradox and yet it is true. That is why we are more or less of no
because we have circumvented or not known the things that are ultimate.
The connection between ultimate and immediate is precisely the same as the connection
between the past and the future. We have no immediate significance, until we have
embraced the things that are ultimate. The ultimate purposes of God have very little to do
with our self-gratification, in fact, they have nothing to do with it, and who has a heart
embracing something that has no particular relevance for oneself? When we do, however,
embrace them, then all Hell will howl, and we will have made ourselves candidates for
such fierce opposition, which never would have been our portion if we had only
contented ourselves with the things that are at hand. The moment we embrace the
ultimate purposes of God, we become marked people before the powers of darkness.
We presently have little or no understanding of the ultimate and full purposes of God
and through His people. The church is bored stiff, lacking an orbit, a line of thought and
a direction because it lacks this understanding. We condemn ourselves, therefore, to
programs and services whose forms are unhappily predictable. To embrace that which is
ultimate and full is what makes church the true church. It is at the heart of the very
purpose for our being. For that reason, God has given us the full gospel and the fullness
of His Spirit. Yet we can talk about the gospel and the indwelling Spirit and not have
either because we do not have the full purpose. I am a little suspicious of people
on the "full gospel" and "the baptism of the Spirit" who have not the
because the Spirit is given for that very purpose. It cannot be obtained without Him.
To interpret the mind of God in all matters concerning the purpose of God, to bring all
details into line with that purpose, and to make that purpose govern everything.
He is fanatical! It is not just to announce the purpose, but to demand that everything
be related to it. That is prophetic intensity and prophetic insistence. We are not only to
understand the ultimate and full purposes of God, but everything else that constitutes our
life and being is to be related to that. That will require a radical adjustment, and that
why prophets are not popular. That requirement is painful and that is why people do not
want to hear it.
A prophet shows the unbroken continuum of things past, with the imminence of the
eschatological (end-time) future, that culminates in the theocratic glory. In other words,
he is so aware of the invisible cloud of witnesses that make up the saints of past times
being present, in order to prod us on to the fulfillment of the thing that is future. This
prophetic way of seeing the continuity and relevance of things past and future is also
God's way of seeing, and it is the way that God would have the whole church to see. The
absence of that seeing is to be rooted in mere time or mere culture itself, which is the
product of time. We break the bondage of culture and tradition that is so fixed in time by
breaking out of the orbit of time itself. We do not need to wait to die to come into
eternity, but we can already be in that eternal place. We are already seated in heavenly
places with Christ. That is the prophet's seeing and he has the responsibility to
communicate that seeing in such a way as to engage the hearer and bring him into that
The prophet sees the sweep and the purpose of God, the larger picture, the panoramic
view. He is not one for the 'nuts and bolts', for the details: 'how do you do this and
He sees the arching overview, and that is what the church needs to see if that is the
framework of its life. Without that overview, fellowships will be fixed entirely in the
present moment. They will remain in the things that are really so narrow and so petty
because they cannot see what they are doing and what they are about in this moment in
the context of something much larger of which they are in connection and moving
toward. Without the prophetic overview, they are caught up in the immediate program,
which very likely has been birthed out of their flesh or out of a necessity to 'do
something', and is not consciously in the continuum of things apostolic and prophetic.
The prophet communicates the eternal perspective, which also includes the past. One has
no more apprehension of the future then one has of the past. Our ability to perceive the
things that are yet future is altogether relative to the appropriation of the things past.
If we are going to be the one who turns aside to see the 'burning bush' as it pertains
God's purpose for Israel, then we need to have already turned aside to see the flaming
issues of our own life and not pass them by. We will not turn aside to see the 'burning
bush' of God in which the Lord Himself is in the midst, in the revelation of Himself that
waits on that moment of a particular kind, if we have not already 'turned aside to see'
'burning bushes' of the issues of our own life. Most of us look away and our past is the
wreckage of failed marriages, failed relationships, failed church situations, where we go
on to something else and sweep the past under the proverbial rug and have not turned
aside to see. It is painful and that is why people do not turn aside, and we look to the
situation to remove the memory of the past. That is the human propensity and it is a
propensity that the prophet cannot indulge. He has got to have the guts to face up to his
own past and his own failures. In fact, those failures have very likely been given him by
God to fit him that he might not miss the 'burning bush' when it comes in the moment of
his final calling.
That message is going to be resisted, because it is not convenient to be lifted out of
The prophet must make that view, which is a lost view, the first priority for the hearer.
is not another option it is the way. The eternal view is the view, and he has registered
with such forcefulness in his speaking that it has become now the priority of the person
who hears him. That is what the prophetic word is: the 'event'. It is not information or
inspiration, it is the word as 'event' that creates what was not there before, namely, the
eternal perspective, where God's own seeing now becomes that of the believer. To be
apprehended by that perspective will alienate that believer from the world and from those
who are still seeing conventionally, including his own family.
The prophet absolutizes those things that the world has made trivial, and he makes
and relative what the world has sought to make absolute and ultimate. He stands the
world on its head and he turns it inside-out. He says, "What you are celebrating is
delusion, and what you are ignoring is of eternal moment and significance." He not
says it, but he establishes it. That seeing will change and affect everything: the way
you see your family, your daily life, what you do, how you order your time, your
resources, your money, your future. The power of that word, and it requires power, is
altogether relative to the authentic sending and the intercession that goes forth behind
one that brings the word. He is not some virtuoso in himself who is operating
independent of the sending body. He is coming against the whole weight of a moral order
that has not its origin from above but below, but has become so normative that no one
thinks that there is any alternative to it and even thinks that this is valid. The prophet
brings another view of the eternal kind that is calculated not only to compete with, but
demolish the other. It has, therefore, got to be expressed in power in order to win the
willingness of the hearer.
The prophet announces or projects the impending end of the world in apocalyptic fury
and judgment in a way to birth the longing for the new heaven and new earth in which
dwells righteousness. If we have any investment in this present world, the prophet
demolishes it and makes clear that God is bringing a judgment in which everything that is
not sanctified and separated unto Him, will go up in the conflagration. We are willing for
that because we are won over to the view of a new heaven and a new earth in which
dwells righteousness. If this is what it takes for God to be glorified in His own
then let it come.