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Saturday, August 12, 2006

True Meaning of Revival and Prophecy is not about Predicting Future Events!

     I recently stumbled onto an article in a Christian/prophecy web site concerning Tommy Hick's vision, and subsequent comments by Stuart Dayton. As I was reading it, I saw another example of expositors who read more into scripture than is there, primarily to validate their predictive visions.
I feel led to expound briefly some of my feelings about this whole issue of "latter rain" and the supposed Holy Spirit being poured out in "moderation" on The Day of Pentecost.
     Let's revisit what Stuart Dayton wrote:
Tommy Hicks' Vision
Comment by Stuart Dayton
     I was listening to a tape where Paul Keith Davis was speaking about a dream or vision he had received. In this dream/vision there were "Prophetic Signposts." These "Prophetic Signposts" would mark new spiritual dimensions that would begin to happen when these signposts were seen. One of the signposts was the passing on of Johnny Cash. He stated that Tommy Hicks' Vision was involved in this dream/vision. This would seem like a good time to look at Tommy Hicks' Vision again.
His Blessings,
Stuart


     Joe Ortiz writes:


     I skip down to this following Dayton narrative, which is the crux of the matter. I underline the word "moderately," the word I researched very carefully for its true meaning. Stuart's premise (as he analyzes Tommy Hicks vision) is that a "double portion" of the Holy Spirit will be poured out in the last days.


     Dayton continues:


     "In the book of Acts we read that 'In the last days,' God said, 'I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh.' I wonder if we realized what he meant when God said, "I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh." I do not think I fully realize nor could I understand the fullness of it, and then I read from the book of Joel: "Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord Your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain " (Joel 2:23). It is not only going to be the rain, the former rain and the latter rain, but he is going to give to his people in these last days a double portion of the power of God!"


     Joe Ortiz writes:


     Before we examine the word moderately, let's read Joel 2:23 in the King James Version to refamiliarize ourselves with this profound verse:

     "Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first [month]."
     First of all, no mention is ever made in this verse about any double portion! Secondly, we know that the "last days" began right after The Resurrection and Ascension of Christ. But, yet, too many people will conveniently introduce their subjective perceptions, inferences and conclusions, rather than reading what God's words say.
     The word moderately in Joel 2:23 defines the Hebrew word, ts@daqah {tsed-aw-kaw'}, which literally means justice, righteousness and has nothing to do with proportionality! If one will check through their Strong's or any other concordance, the word, ts@daqah {tsed-aw-kaw'}, is always rendered justice, righteousness in hundreds of usage's, except here in Joel 2:23. Yet, theorists will continue to translate this word as "moderation," as if to mean God disproportionately poured out His Holy Spirit in limited measure on The Day of Pentecost. This is to minimize the glory of God and the power of the Holy Spirit.
     This is why we must question most so-called visions and prophecies (that are not already recorded in God's word), especially those that contain certain (erroneously interpreted) words squeezed into their theorizing. This is dangerous stuff.
     I don't question visionary's intentions. Maybe they feel they have a special gift of predicting the future through various dreams and so-called visions. Who knows? Joel did say young men will have visions and old men will have dreams once the Holy Spirit has been poured out. However, I see no recordation of the disciples proclaiming any new visions or specific predictions other than what was already written in OT scripture. Holy Spirit power gifts were poured out on them to edify, embolden, etc. They were poured out on The Day of Pentecost in their fullest power! Let us examine these gifts, as cited in 1 Corinthians 12:1-11:


Spiritual Gifts


     1Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant. 2You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. 3Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus be cursed," and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit. 4There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. 7Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,[1] and to still another the interpretation of tongues.[2] 11All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines. (1 Corinthians 12:1-11)
     As a reminder, we must be able to understand the true (etymological) rendering of the word PROPHECY. Too many (well intended) Christians confuse the word PROPHECY with PREDICTIONS. There have been many people throughout history who have claimed (and made) many predictions in past times. People like Jean Dixon, Nostradamus, and Edgar Cayce (even William Miller's prediction of the Lord's return in 1843). Some came true, but not poor Bill Miller's predictions. I must trust the Holy Spirit to believe that many of these so-called visions and predictions derive from satanic origins.
     Let's examine the true rendering of the word, PROPHECY:

A-1,Noun,4394,propheteia> signifies "the speaking forth of the mind and counsel of God" (pro, "forth," phemi, "to speak:" see PROPHET); in the NT it is used (a) of the gift, e.g., Rom. 12:6; 1 Cor. 12:10; 13:2; (b) either of the exercise of the gift or of that which is "prophesied," e.g., Matt. 13:14; 1 Cor. 13:8; 14:6,22; 1 Thess. 5:20, "prophesying (s);" 1 Tim. 1:18; 4:14; 2 Pet. 1:20,21; Rev. 1:3; 11:6; 19:10; 22:7,10,18,19. "Though much of OT prophecy was purely predictive, see Micah 5:2, e.g., and cp. John 11:51, prophecy is not necessarily, nor even primarily, fore-telling. It is the declaration of that which cannot be known by natural means, Matt. 26:68, it is the forth-telling of the will of God, whether with reference to the past, the present, or the future, see Gen. 20:7; Deut. 18:18; Rev. 10:11; 11:3. ...
 "In such passages as 1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 2:20, the 'prophets' are placed after the 'Apostles,' since not the prophets of Israel are intended, but the 'gifts' of the ascended Lord, Eph. 4:8,11; cp. Acts 13:1; ...; the purpose of their ministry was to edify, to comfort, and to encourage the believers, 1 Cor. 14:3, while its effect upon unbelievers was to show that the secrets of a man's heart are known to God, to convict of sin, and to constrain to worship, 1 Cor. 14:24,25.


"With the completion of the canon of Scripture prophecy apparently passed away, 1 Cor. 13:8, 9. In his measure the teacher has taken the place of the prophet, cp. the significant change in 2 Pet. 2:1. The difference is that, whereas the message of the prophet was a direct revelation of the mind of God for the occasion, the message of the teacher is gathered from the completed revelation contained in the Scriptures." (W.E. Vine, An Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words)
     This all brings me back to the whole issue of "Latter rain" and a "new anointing." This is obviously the bedrock of Pentecostalism. While I don't reject that many people have been brought near to Christ through the Pentecostal movement (as I was), I believe the word clearly states that God poured out His Holy Spirit in its fullest on The Day of Pentecost, and that power has been here for our asking and taking unto ourselves ever since. It is to insult the power of God (and the Holy Spirit) to believe He didn't have enough power to imbue and sustain the church to its fullest with these great gifts on the Day of Pentecost. To make claim that He has plans to "kick it up a notch," is to deny His power was insufficient at Pentecost.
     If we do see any future (demonstrative) revivals, such as those people claim happen at conferences and rallies being held by the Benny Hinn's of the world, they will not be of God. If we see masses of people suddenly coming to Christ due to any unique predictions by those who believe they possess the gift of (predictive) PROPHECY, it will not be of God.
     We have seen this phenomenon throughout history. Some see a church grow in numbers and call that a revival. However, numerical growth can take place even in an unrevived organization. Even malignant tumors can grow. But revival is not numerical growth. For others, a revival is a series of special meetings. Feel Good meetings! True revival is not about feeling good; it’s about surrendering your life to God and doing good. Not doing good things to be accepted by God, but doing good things because God has accepted our belief in Him, and what He has done through Jesus Christ. True revival is not manifested by masses coming to Him at the behest of charismatic preachers and celebrities and modern day musicians, however famous, talented and eloquent they may be. Revival begins with individual repentance on the part of God’s people: "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." (II Chronicle 7:14, KJV)
     Revival is personal and in essence is God’s people individually returning to and pursuing God. It is not the filling of beautiful church buildings or stadiums with people looking for a new experience, but it’s the filling of people with God’s presence through the Holy Spirit.
     True revival will be individual. True revival will be in our own back yard and it will not be a revival of the masses. It will come when individual men and woman will begin to turn to God in a humble but yet greater measure. It will come about because more and more people will pursue God and access His power to do mighty things. And, these mighty things will not be extolling fanciful predictions about people and places in this time or that time, those vain announcements designed to heap glory unto them, as if they are more holy or gifted than others. By mighty things I mean humbling ourselves before God, praying for Holy Spirit-powered gifts that will help us bring our loved ones and friends to pursue Christ; praying for our respective neighbors and community concerns within our framework of day to day living. It’s being salt in the bland world of carnality. Touching lives in ways that those we come in contact will see Christ in us, not us in Christ! It’s being lights that will illuminate the message, not (us) the messengers. Messengers that insure God receives the glory, rather than seeing how spirit-filled we in vain glory and fleshly desire ourselves to be seen by others.
     For people to continue to present themselves as possessing unique and esoteric dreams and visions, as if they are more special or gifted than others, is sheer flesh and seeks wordily glory. To present to others so-called predictive prophecies from God, couched with a King James accented vernacular (as if this gives it greater credence), claiming that God had given them new details about future (and specific) events, is vanity, sheer unadulterated flesh.
     Many who feel compelled to present these sorts of predictive utterances may have been blessed with the gift of wisdom and knowledge. Many have obviously gained much knowledge because they pursue (relentlessly) God and His word. However, I fail to believe that God respects them anymore than any other human being who is seeking God and His truth; and He obviously reveals more to those who actively pursue Him and His wisdom. But as we pursue Him through the gift of the Holy Spirit, we are assured that His word is complete. As the Holy Spirit reveals God, His nature and His attributes, we should be inclined to praise and worship Him. But, rather than praise and worship Him for who He is and what He has done through Jesus Christ, too many are focused on trying to gain points with God by trying to impress others that they have received specific details about people, places and future events. They believe this is due to a “latter rain” (meaning the Holy Spirit) that is being poured in greater measure than on The Day of Pentecost. They fail to see that the prophecy of Joel 2:23 was fulfilled in all its glory, in all its power on that great day!
     God is here, He is everywhere, and His power is 100 percent active. He has poured Himself out in the personification of the Holy Spirit amongst ALL flesh. It is His creation that fails to pursue this power that He has made available to those who not only believe in Him, but those who praise and worship who He is.
     There is nothing new under the sun! No new esoteric visions, no new predictions about tribulations, wars and rumors of wars and especially about the political machinations related to the country we now know as Israel in the Middle East! This prophetic/vision mentality (interpreting CNN news items as if it’s God's new revelations) is the sifting sand foundation of the Lindsey's, LaHaye's, Tommy Ice's, Benny Hinn's, et al. It is a diabolical tool being used for present day political influence and gains and (most of all) to heap financial profit and vain glory on these ill-fated messengers themselves. Nothing else!
     To my friends and loved ones who seek spiritual validation (call it revival, if you must), I say, seek not new things but let's humble ourselves, and PURSUE GOD! Let's wait upon HIM to reinvigorate our souls through prayer and worship! Praise and worship come first. Then the Holy Spirit can find room in our hearts to receive His power gifts. That's true revival! Then we can read and study and meditate on His word to guide us in all things.
     After we humble ourselves, worship and pray to God, seeking His wisdom, if nothing of a predictive nature comes before us, don’t be surprised. If any person claims they have received visions concerning floods will occur in Memphis, hurricanes in Toledo, scorching heat waves in El Paso, whether George W. Bush will be captured by UFO’s, Brittany Spears will marry an aborigine from Brazil, or whether Shania Twain will have triplets in the year 2007, so be it. These novel and fascinating revelations will not be from God!
     If anyone truly believes that God has chosen them to reveal unique and dated information about specific people, places and events (that are not already recorded in the Bible), I encourage you to begin praying and worshiping God before making these public. If these events do not materialize, ask yourself if you have really been spending time with God to know who He is and what His true will in your life is for Him. I would ask you to seek God in greater measure for the gift of discernment. Remember! Not only will you be held accountable to God, but your message can cause new children in Christ to follow the wrong path.
     Therefore, it is rather more fruitful for all of us to wait on Him and continue in praise, worship and prayer. Most of all let us remember that God doesn't need us to forecast the impending horrors that lay in the imminent future as signs of His soon return. We need His grace, mercy and loving kindness. Therefore, we need to worship and praise Him for what He has done in Jesus Christ, and for who He is, ALMIGHTY GOD!


Joe Ortiz,
Author, The End Times Passover

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