We often bemoan the corrupting influence of contemporary culture on the Church. But many of these concerns are superficial and not related to how the surrounding culture really affects us on a deeper level. For if the medium is the message, then our central message seems to be that the most important thing is a great stage performance. And this centrality of the stage performance is the logical outcome from the architecture of most modern church buildings.

If you compare the church buildings built until the late 19th century with the churches built today, you will see a remarkable difference. In the old churches, the pulpit was elevated high above the pews for largely acoustic purposes. The priest spoke to us from above, which emphasized the supremacy of the Word. Unfortunately, this also made the distinction between the priest and the congregation evident. 

Today’s pulpits are mostly on stages in auditoriums with effective sound systems and visual extravaganza. Our open stages can give an appearance of informality and intimacy, but their intimacy is often illusory and carefully managed—much like in TV talk shows where the host and the guest embrace each other like old friends—even when they are really meeting for the first time.

Media theorists describe mediated intimacy as distant, non-reciprocal intimacy. It is projected intimacy, and today it is an integral part of the Western culture. For example, a politician who is unable to project this kind of intimacy will probably not be elected. Unfortunately, mediated intimacy is not real but illusory. It makes us feel that we have a genuine relationship with someone on stage, but in reality, that relationship remains one-sided.  No human being can have a meaningful, intimate relationship with thousands of people. 

Megachurch model dominates even smaller churches

In 1923, Aimee McPherson opened the first megachurch modeled after a theater in Los Angeles.  Thousands of megachurches and countless of smaller churches have since copied the most basic ingredient of its architecture—the division between a stage for performers and seats for an audience. Aimee built a theater, so now we have thousands of churches built like theaters. And in theaters all that matters is maintaining an illusion. 

Reporter Don Ryan wrote in Los Angeles Recordof January 2, 1923 about the opening of Angelus Temple, 

“If Aimee Semple McPherson had not chosen to be a revivalist, she would have been a queen of musical comedy. She has a magnetism such as few women since Cleopatra have possessed . . . Standing beneath the dome the revivalist explained her inspiration for the temple. ‘I wanted it like God’s own outdoors,’ she said. ‘So the gypsies and people of that sort would feel more at home. The churches seem to have lost the intimacy we get in theatres. I tried to get that intimacy here . . . The cheerful intimacy of the theater had been achieved. The building is much like a theater. It has numerous foyers. The seats are opera chairs. The only churchly touch is in the windows.’” 

In an interview in 1978, Aimee’s daughter Roberta said, “All she had was drama lessons in High School. So she read the Bible as an actress. She put back the drama that was already there.”

Aimee was very aware of entertainment as her main competition, and she taught young preachers, 

“Remember you have competition. There are the movies and the boxing-galleries and the bowling allies. Students, beat the old devil at his game and come prayed through, with the power of God upon you and every means you can at your disposal to get the message over.” 

This change would probably have happened even without Aimee, but it seems no coincidence that the megachurch was birthed near Hollywood.

We can perceive megachurches as the only churches with stage production problems, but, in fact, the prevailing stage performance culture affects all churches: large and small, contemporary and traditional. The main differences are the differences of scale between a Broadway, regional or village theater experience.

Uri Geller, an Israeli illusionist, once said, “In entertainment, there is a kind of acceptability to deceive. It is like there are two Picasso paintings on the wall. One of them is real. One of them is fake. But it doesn’t really matter. There is no harm in that.” 

The stage knows no difference between a hypocrite and an authentic Christian leader. 

Perceived intimacy is deceitful

"The medium is the message" is a phrase coined by the media theorist Marshall McLuhan. It means that the form of a medium embeds itself in the message, creating a symbiotic relationship by which the medium influences how the message is perceived.  For example, TV is primarily the medium of entertainment, and this will affect everything we see on TV, including the news.

Nearly everything we see on TV is carefully stage-managed. And we have expanded this careful stage management to our church services. Whereas in the traditional churches this rigorous stage management has been used to create liturgies that create a separation between the clergy and the congregation members, in contemporary churches it is often used to create an illusion of intimacy. 

Some churches have a rock band, others a medieval choir. But in both, the Church mostly operates like a stage production.

Hyperreal religious experiences

According to media theorists, we live in a media-saturated world where media profoundly shapes the way we perceive reality. This complex intertwining of an event and its mediated representation is called ‘hyperreality’. Unfortunately, many Christians might confuse their experience of religious hyperreality with a genuine spiritual life.

We experience a transition from hyperreality into reality when we walk out of a dark cinema into bright daylight. We have been immersed in a manufactured emotional experience. As the emotional effects of that particular movie are not real but manufactured, they fade quickly, leaving behind a sense of emptiness. We can also experience a transition from hyperreality into reality on Monday morning when the great church experience we had on Sunday night has faded, and we feel we have no faith left.  

Stage performers as church leaders

Our church setup favors good performers. That’s because the stage belongs to them. No one wants to watch a bad actor. In this environment good performance skills are more important than a good character. We might bemoan the celebrity culture, but the reality is that even our building architecture is designed to manufacture it.

On stage, what matters is perceivedauthenticity. Fake or real, it doesn't really matter! Hyperreality doesn't differentiate between them. Our stage performance culture is one of the main reasons for the inability of our churches to make a difference in society—or even in the lives of our congregation members. Whilst we protest loudly against our secular society from the pulpit, we perpetuate its operating logic in our services.

When a stage performer becomes a church leader, his team will consist of stagehands that can help him look good on stage and supporting performers who will participate in his performance.  The stark reality is that most of our churches are run according to the logic of a stage and event management company. We have been caught in the wrong side of mediated authenticity. 

How can we escape all this?

I have heard many Christians say that we should escape all this and no more meet in church buildings. But small groups and emerging church models have their own problems.

And large churches and Christian media can have an important role to play in evangelism and society that simply cannot be delivered by home churches. For example, in the last year, our work with converts from Islam has been expanding to over ten countries in Europe and the Middle East. A large part of this work in the Middle East is happening through house churches, but these house churches wouldn’t even exist without the help of the Christian media and larger Western churches that have access to financial resources and people power.

It is helpful to see that the problem of mediated authenticity is by no means a new problem; it is an ancient problem that has only become bigger.

In Matthew 6:5, Jesus confronted this performance culture head-on when he admonished the hypocrites who liked to pray in street corners. Today, the street corners might have become church stages, but the temptation remains the same. Our problem is that stages have been designed for hypocrisy, as they are places for performance and acting. 

The only way to deal with the dark side of mediated authenticity is to let the Word of God inspect our lives on a daily basis. We must relearn to read the Bible for ourselves first rather than only for a sermon.

James 1:23-25 says: “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.”

The solution James offers might sound simple, but it works.  It is remarkable how much in our lives depends on us remembering that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. 

Each day the Charismatic Church encounters a deluge of general prophecy predicting anything from a revival to trends in global politics. But it seems that we are giving our people very few—if any—tools for assessing these prophecies.

General prophecy differs from personal prophecy in that it is not concerned of individuals but of churches, regions, nations, world events and so on, although, if genuine, it will often impact individuals indirectly. 

The Trump prophecies are a form of general prophecy, as although they concern an individual, the main emphasis is on the impact of choosing one individual on a nation.

One of the things I have been astonished about is how millions of Christians have been willing to desert any biblical standards when it comes to the Trump prophecies. For biblical standard is not just about guessing the name of a president right, but it is also about revealing God's purposes behind the world events. 

The purpose of these ten tests is to help Christians assess general prophecy when it has been proclaimed, so that they don't have to wait until the fulfilment or failure of these prophecies. Clearly, there are many tests we can use, and although there are prophecies that will have to run their course before clarity emerges, at least we should be able to sift out clearly wrong prophecies through testing them

Proverbs 30:5-6 says: "Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar."

False prophecy is like adding to God's words; speaking in a manner of as if God has authorised us to do so—but God is not bound by our words, He is only committed to fulfilling His own words.

Before we get started, here is a list of articles I have written previously about the Trump prophecies.

Can we judge general prophecy?

The first hurdle we must overcome in judging prophecy is a teaching that doesn't seem to take false prophecy that seriously. Instead, this teaching instructs us simply to align with the 'recognised' prophets, and accept their word as given—with not much explanation if the word turns out to be wrong, as prophecy is seen as partial and fallible. But we are left with a paradox: why should we listen to prophets who have a prophetic 'office' if their words turn out to be fallible? Isn't it the accuracy of their words that should give these prophets their office? But instead, in today's prophetic movement it is an alignment with 'apostles' and other 'prophets' that seems to give these 'prophets' authority.

But this kind of thinking is based on misunderstanding 1 Corinthians 13. This misunderstanding probably started from a mistranslation of a singular word in KJV. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13:8-11 (NKJV), 

“Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.”

Because Paul says that we prophesy in part, many prophets aren’t really that bothered if their words turn out not to be fulfilled. And if the standard to be used is that prophecies don’t need to be fulfilled 100% accurately, then getting them 50% right (for example, for Trump to win the election but not turning out to be the prophesied purger of corruption in Washington D.C., but rather a corruption automatum), then it is not a big deal, as even a partial fulfilment is considered adequate.

In this view, hitting the bullseye isn't necessary; sometimes it seems enough to be able to throw the dart in the right direction, even if it doesn't hit the target at all. 

I write about the historical development behind the reduced standards applied to prophecy in my book Supernatural Love: Releasing the Compassion of Jesus Through the Gifts of the Spirit.

But this kind of thinking is based on reading the Bible carelessly, as the Greek for “fail,” katargeo , is defined as, “1. to render idle… 2. to cause to cease” (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon ). This has been translated much more accurately in other translations. For example, NRSV says, "they will come to an end". This one of the verses where both KJV and NKJV fail us, unfortunately.

Consequently, once the prophecy is fulfilled, it ceases in a sense that there’s no longer a need to wait for the fulfilment of the prophesied event. They have no more use, apart from the encouragement a fulfilled prophecy can bring. For example, prophecies about events preceding the return of Christ will cease, or become idle, after His return. Said another way, prophecies are helpful for a limited time, in contrast to the eternal benefit of love. So, when the prophecy has been fulfilled, its intended benefits have ceased. But a genuine prophecy should still be fulfilled accurately.

The verse 12's statement of seeing in a mirror dimly doesn’t refer to prophetic word, but to our subjective experience of Jesus in this age. Now we experience the presence of God dimly, but one day we will see Him face to face. Hence we shouldn't idolise or sometimes even fully embrace our supernatural experiences, as they are somewhat subjective and distorting God's reality.

This is in consistency with the rest of the Bible that always teaches that genuine prophetic words are meant to be taken accurately, although they don't mostly give us a full picture. In essence, seeing and knowing in part—when it comes to prophecy—is like having only some of the pieces of a large jigsaw puzzle—we are often unable to see the whole picture, but what we can see in the individual pieces is still accurate. For example, we might see some of the pieces of the sky and clouds, but we don’t have any pictures of the landscape. Often, over a period of a time, we will begin to receive more pieces, and then we might be able to see the landscape and its relation to the sky.

But it is typical of the present-day prophetic movement to ignore most of the Bible and instead insist on misinterpreting and misapplying a singular Bible verse.

Both Paul and John command us to test any prophecies.

The apostle Paul says, “Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge.” (1 Corinthians 14:29)

The apostle John says, “Beloved, do not believe every Spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1)

So, as we are exhorted by both John and Paul to test the prophets and their prophecies, we should safely be able to do so, especially as Jesus and the Old Testament prophets also warn us of false prophets.

What is the purpose of prophets?

Much of the thinking behind prophets having the ability to predict general world events and events related to a nation comes from the Old Testament. It can be argued that the prophets still have this function in the New Testament Church, but it has clearly been somewhat repurposed in Paul’s thinking, as he introduces a new function for the prophets. 

Paul writes in Ephesians 3:1-9, 

“For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery.”

One of the main purposes of prophets in the Church is to make plain the administration of salvation in their generation, and sometimes in future generations. We know that it is God’s will to bring people from all nations to Him, but the administration of this plan must be done according to His will. We can see this in Acts 16:6-10 when Paul sees the vision of a Macedonian man:

"Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them. So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, 'Come over to Macedonia and help us.' Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them."

It was the Holy Spirit who obstructed Paul from following the general commission to preach the gospel and showed him how he should administer the gospel at that time. 

This same principle applies to our generation. To see how that can work please read 12 lessons from a fulfilled vision (although this article should really be updated, as God has already accomplished so much more!)

Prophets combat false doctrine

One of the prophetic functions that we have missed nearly completely in the Charismatic movement is combating false doctrine. In fact, we often justify the poor or false doctrines of the prophets by saying that they are prophets! But the Bible doesn’t give us permission to have this excuse, as Ephesians 4:11-14 demonstrates.

"So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming."

One of the main functions of the prophets in the New Testament is to combat wrong doctrines and help Christians hear God for themselves—by being built into the head, who is Christ. Many today seek to replace the ministry of aligning to the Head with aligning to the prophetic and apostolic ministries themselves, teaching that this is the way Church will be blessed, but in fact, the Church will only be blessed when she is aligned to Jesus. The job of the prophets is not to make the Church obedient to themselves, but to Christ, and as Paul says, their job is done when the Church has reached full maturity and knows Christ.

But how can we assess prophecy that predicts the future? Do we simply need to wait until the prophecy has clearly been fulfilled or unfulfilled? Thankfully, there are many measuring tools that we can use that will help us to understand which prophecies we might need to take seriously, and which ones, clearly not.

10 tests for judging general prophecy

Here are 10 tests for judging general prophecy.

1. You will know them by their fruits

Jesus says in Matthew 7:15-16: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.” 

Looking at the Trump prophecies, we are beginning to see their fruit now, as many Christian leaders, still believing in the Trump prophecies, still feel forced to defend racism and clear lies. But we shouldn’t have waited until Trump became President, as these issues were clearly visible earlier, only the Trump prophecies blinded millions to ignore them.

Linked to this is the question whether the prophets display the fruit of the Spirit or not. For example, Lance Wallnau writes in a Facebook post on 17 January 2018:

"'OUT!' CNN reporter Jim Accosting cast out after badgering President.
The President didn't even raise his voice, he spoke calmly and pointed to the door. Cast him out with a word.
Reminded me...When evening came, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils, and he cast out the spirits with a word.' (Matt 8:16)
Sorry. Couldn't resist."

In this story Trump is like Jesus and CNN reporter is like a demon. 

But this goes clearly against the teaching of Jesus about loving your neighbour and even your enemies. If the fruit of a prophecy is hatred, and the prophets spread hatred, they are clearly not bearing the fruit that comes from being part of the Vine.

Unfortunately, the biblical Jesus has largely been replaced by a Republican Jesus in large part of the American Charismatic Church.

But we don't have the right to make Jesus into our image. Instead, our calling is to be transformed into His image.

2. What is their worldview and theology?

Again, Lance Wallnau provides us with a good example. He writes about Trump:

“It’s the year 20 million Christians watched a deliverer fight, seemingly alone in the center of the Coliseum. That’s going to change in 2018”.

Lance paints a picture of a world where a leader who doesn’t even pretend to profess Christ becomes the deliverer—not through accident, but as if he were anointed by the Holy Spirit. It is a worldview of a thoroughly politicised Christianity, where the opposing political party has become akin to the devil, and where the saints have been replaced by the Republicans.

Now, you might agree to this worldview. But it is not a biblical worldview or biblical theology.

3. Do they have a strong agenda?

When you inspect a prophet and he or she has a clear political agenda, it is possible that their political agenda will blind them, as they can begin to prophesy from their political assumptions. But that is not the voice of the Lord, only the voice of the political assumption. 

Personally, I have come to understand that a strong agenda or framework can make us deaf to to the voice of God.

2 Samuel 7:1-5 tells about King David intending to build a temple.

"Now it came to pass when the king was dwelling in his house, and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies all around, that the king said to Nathan the prophet, 'See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells inside tent curtains.' Then Nathan said to the king, 'Go, do all that is in your heart, for the Lord is with you.' But it happened that night that the word of the Lord came to Nathan, saying, 'Go and tell My servant David, "Thus says the Lord: 'Would you build a house for Me to dwell in?'"'" 

The prophet Nathan made an assumption that because God had anointed David, he would automatically make the right decision, so he didn't even inquire the Lord. Today, the Charismatic Church is full of these assumptions based on the perceived calling of a party, leader or denomination, and those assumptions are blinding us. 

Basically, we don't inquire the Lord, because we think we already know the answer. But no matter who you are, you don't have the right to add to God's words.

God hasn't given us the right to speak on His behalf—not until we have heard His voice clearly.

4. What is the fruit of their previous prophecies?

What is the fruit/outcome of their previous prophecies? What is their track record? When they prophesied last time, what happened? This doesn’t refer to not yet fulfilled prophecies but clearly expired, unfulfilled prophecies.

Here, you can often 'cheat' a little, in a sense that you can also inspect the prophecies of the prophet's friends.  

For example, in 2012, well known prophets such as Rick Joyner looked into Mormon prophecies to justify voting for Mitt Romney. I wrote about these prophecies in Why did so many prophets get the US election wrong?  

If a prophet has got a main prophecy wrong last time, it probably means that we shouldn’t automatically believe their next major prophecy. And also, if he or she clearly stands in agreement with prophets who have got their prophecies clearly wrong, it is only rightful to question their judgment. I know that this is a tricky area, as you can stand in agreement with someone on, say evangelism but not on prophecy, so I might stand in unity with someone in an evangelistic campaign, but not when it comes to their prophecies. On the other hand, if your read my writings, it will become clear to you pretty quickly what I think about their prophecies, although I might not name an individual.

5. Who are their friends? 

Proverbs 22:24-25 says, “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways  and get yourself ensnared.”

This is one of the main reasons why I have stayed away from much of the prophetic movement, as we can so easily be ensnared by our friends. 

When it comes to the present-day American prophetic movement, it is useful to perceive it as a fairly unified block that tends to agree with each other, especially when it comes to political prophecy. You will never hear any one prophet within the prophetic movement criticise the prophecies of another one. 

Put simply, we need more prophets who are ready to lose their friends, if necessary. But if someone spends twenty years in close fellowship with clearly false prophets, it is unlikely that their prophetic gift remains pure.

Jeremiah 23:30-32 says “'Therefore behold, I am against the prophets,' says the Lord, 'who steal My words every one from his neighbor. Behold, I am against the prophets,' says the Lord, 'who use their tongues and say, "He says." Behold, I am against those who prophesy false dreams,' says the Lord, 'and tell them, and cause My people to err by their lies and by their recklessness. Yet I did not send them or command them; therefore they shall not profit this people at all,' says the Lord."

Don’t share people’s prophetic words unless you have seriously prayed over the and felt the release. According to Jeremiah. you might be held accountable for false prophecies that you share, even when they are not your own! 

7. Is it in clear contradiction to the Word?

Again, Lance Wallnau says, "Jesus chose a businessman to give him governmental keys to restore the kingdom. Jesus is putting his hand on a Peter right now; like you’re just saying, it’s a businessman. Trump is a businessman with the keys of the kingdom right now to wreck what hell has been doing over the United States.”

This is in a direct contradiction to the Word and in direct contradiction to what Jesus teaches about the Kingdom. Only the disciples of Jesus can have any spiritual authority of the Kingdom, and here Lance gives Trump the apostolic authority of Peter. 

7. How carefully or carelessly does it handle the Word?

This is slightly different from the prophecy clearly contradicting the Word. Is the way the prophecy uses the Scripture prophetically in consistency with the intended use? How casually does the prophet handle the Word? Does he or she even care about the intended use?

For example, "I heard the Lord say, 'Donald Trump is a wrecking ball to the spirit of political correctness,'" Wallnau says"After I met him I heard the Lord say, 'Isaiah 45 will be the 45th president,'" he explains. "I go check it out; Isaiah 45 is Cyrus."

But this shows a huge amount of disrespect when it comes to the Bible. To begin with, Lance should know that the chapter and verse structure of the Bible was added in the Middle Ages, and it was not there originally, so at best, this could be a ‘prophecy’ by a medieval clerk. Also, the Hebrew Bible also gained the chapter and verse structure only after the Christians introduced it in the Middle Ages. This is something he should explain, but he doesn't either know about it or care about it. But telling that would seriously damage the credibility of his prophecy.

The prophetic movement is full of careless reading of the Word. In fact, it often relies on the fact that most Christians don't know their Bible! But if prophecy is God’s word, it should be in consistency with God’s Word, so we should study the Bible diligently. But much of the time, the prophets seem to twist the Word of God for their own purposes.

2 Peter 3:14-18 says: 

“Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.”

8. How seriously do prophets take the accuracy of any prophetic words?

Often, prophets refer to other prophets’ words or their own prophetic words as if they had been fulfilled. But how accurately do they do it? For example, it has been said that Kim Clement prophesied that Trump will be the president in 2007. You might have heard the recording that allegedly proved that.

So, did Kim Clement prophesy that Trump will be the president? NO. This claim is based on a very poor listening of the actual prophecy. 

According to Kim Clement’s prophecy, Trump will become the trumpet and Bill Gates will open the financial realm to the Church. What follows is a prophecy about a president—who Kim Clement doesn’t name—who will rule for eight years. 

As Kim Clement never names the president, the only prophetic thing about this “prophecy” is that there will be a president who will stay in White House for eight years.

But how did Kim Clement himself interpret this prophecy? Unfortunately, he is no more around, so we must go with what he has said or written. At least on April 9 2008, he clearly seemed to think that the president he prophesied about was Barack Obama.

Kim says, “For they have unfairly spoken against an African man, and I'm not talking about Jeremiah Wright; I'm talking about Obama. For God said, ‘Even though you may think this or that, there is an element of righteousness inside of him to reach out for Jesus. Therefore, I will sway it next week,’ says the Spirit of God, ‘and I will cause My man, My power—to exalt in the White House what is necessary to declare victory. For this time, I shall rise up and I shall make known who I am in a way that I have never done it in this nation,’ says the Lord. For the Spirit of God says, ‘Do not say, “Is it this one or is it that one?” Hear me out. I am raising up My mantle, My voice. This nation shall be awakened to a spiritual activity that has been dead for 42 years. Listen to Me,’ says the Lord. ‘I will take over in a way and in a fashion that will bring a force of spiritual unity in this nation for the first time. You can believe it or not. I will take white and I will take African, and I will bring a unity in the Church between the two of them,’ says the Spirit of God."

So, if the prophecy itself doesn’t state it clearly, and the prophet himself didn’t clearly believe in this interpretation, I don’t think that we have the right to use this prophecy the way it has been used. 

If prophets don't take their own words seriously nor take the words of other prophets seriously, but they twist them, it is unlikely that they have ever prophesied God's words.

9. What is its relationship with reality?

Jeremiah Johnson, one of the prophets who prophesied quite early about Trump, didn’t prophesy clearly that Trump would be elected, but that he would become a trumpet and that “Trump does not fear man nor will he allow deception and lies to go unnoticed.” 

But Mark Taylor, the fireman, prophesied clearly about Trump becoming president,  The Spirit of God says, I will protect America and Israel, for this next president will be a man of his word”.

By any reasonable fact-checking standards Trump has lied perhaps more than any other American presidential candidate and now president. Ever. In fact, he seems to be in a continual war against reality. But this was all clear already when Trump's presidential campaign started.

Mark Taylor, the fireman, also prophesied, “For I will use this man to bring honor, respect and restoration to America. America will be respected once again as the most powerful and prosperous nation on Earth.”

But the survey of opinion in 134 countries showed a record collapse in approval for the US role in the world, from 48% under Obama to 30% after one year of Donald Trump—the lowest level Gallup has recorded since beginning its global leadership poll over a decade ago.

Isaiah 5:20 says: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”

Woe to us when we call a lie the truth and a truth a lie! And if we need to do that to justify a prophecy then it is likely that the prophecy is false.

Proverbs 24:23-24 says: “To show partiality in judging is not good: Whoever says to the guilty, ‘You are innocent,’ will be cursed by peoples and denounced by nations.”

God always acknowledges reality, but He has the power to transform people and reality, hence the Bible is full of words "nevertheless" and "but". 

10. How seriously does it take the meaning of words?

False prophecy often redefines words, much like propaganda. For example, what did it mean for Cyrus to be anointed in the Old Testament? Here many read the current-day Pentecostal meaning of the word 'anointing' back into the Old Testament. 

But the 'anointed' one in relation to Cyrus has a completely different meaning that the 'anointed' One when it comes to the Messiah. Again, the way we use the word 'anointed' is often rather different from the New Testament times. 

But here, people like Lance Wallnau quite deliberately abuse the contemporary meaning of the word 'anointing' without explaining the biblical context they are referring to, knowing that although they are technically right when they use the word 'anointing', most of their followers will read the current-day Pentecostal meaning into the ancient context. That means that the word 'anointing' when it comes to Cyrus has effectively been redefined.

Unfortunately, the Charismatic Church is full of these kinds of wilful redefinitions of words. That is why proper exegesis of the Bible is necessary before we attempt to teach it. 

If you find prophets continually using biblical and contemporary words in an unconventional way, there is a chance that they are in the business of redefining words, which often means the difference between an unfulfilled and 'fulfilled' prophecy.

You can connect with Marko on Twitter @markojoensuu and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mpjoensuu/ or by visiting markojoensuu.com.

Kensington Temple has partnered with various Arabic ministries now for around ten years, starting with the translation of Colin Dye’s Sword of the Spirit books into Arabic and broadcasting of his programmes on the KingdomSat.

In the last six months our Arabic ministry has expanded greatly, and the refugee crisis has also brought it close to home. Also, we are now partnering with more Arabic ministries than ever before, and we are really excited about seeing thousands of Arabs giving their lives to Jesus both in Europe and the Middle East.

Since August we have donated over 7,000 copies of Arabic translations of Colin’s books to churches and ministries working with refugees in Europe. In September, in one European city, hundreds of books were given out to nearly 500 ex-Muslim refugees who have given their lives to Jesus.

The situation in the Middle East might seem dire, but it has been the atrocities perpetuated by the Islamic State that have been turning Muslims to Jesus in large numbers. What the devil meant for evil, God is using for good!

Many refugees have already accepted the gospel in their homeland as they have watched Christian programmes on TV or accessed Christian teaching via the  internet, but until becoming refugees they have lacked the opportunity to be part of a local Christian church. In one European city, a former Islamic State soldier who had blown up a church in Iraq was baptised by the very pastor whose church he had attacked!

In another European city every imam refused to participate in a debate with a well-known Christian apologist. But one did. Soon after that, his daughter fell ill. Half of her body was paralysed, and her heartbeat rose to 240 beats per minute. She was about to die. In despair, the imam prayed to Jesus.

The daughter recovered immediately. The imam realised that the god he had prayed all his life had done nothing to help him, but Jesus whom he had been fighting against had been willing to heal his daughter straight away. He is now a Christian.

There seem to be five main reasons why Muslim Arabs are choosing Christ: supernatural dreams and visions about Jesus; falling in love with Jesus when they read the Gospels; healing miracles; practical love expressed by Christians; and disillusionment because of the Islamic State.

It seems that we are witnessing the beginnings of a seismic spiritual earthquake that will change the spiritual landscape of the world in decades to come.

In 2005 God gave us a vision of four combine harvesters that would soon begin to bring the Middle East to Christ: satellite TV, internet, small groups in home churches and large evangelistic events. What has become evident is that those combine harvesters are now all at work, and hundreds of ministries are working together to bring the harvest in. What is particularly encouraging is that much of this work is now led by ex-Muslims, who burn with zeal to bring their brothers to Jesus!

If you want to know more about this vision, please read 12 lessons from fulfilled vision.  
The Arab church is discovering the importance of discipleship, and Colin’s teaching materials that have been translated into Arabic have been well received both in Europe and the Middle East.

We have also seen that the general principles of ministry we have learnt through cell vision are mostly applicable in the new Middle Eastern churches, as there men disciple men and women disciple women, and new churches gather mostly in small group setting. Pray for us, as our work is expanding rapidly in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East!

The Christ4Arabs meeting that we are hosting in our church on Saturday 4 November is but a small, visible part of this mostly invisible, underground work.

It seems that the God-given Arab Spring is finally arriving, as the new Arab Church consisting mainly of ex-Muslims is rising!

This article was published originally in the November 2017 issue of Revival Times.

You can connect with Marko on Twitter @markojoensuu and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mpjoensuu/ or by visiting markojoensuu.com.
Over the last 25 years I have come across 10 ways God will fulfil a prophetic word for our lives. In this audio message I explain them.

You can connect with Marko on Twitter @markojoensuu and on Facebook at facebook.com/marko.joensuu or by visiting markojoensuu.com. 
As a European in London and a principled Remoaner, I find it rather tragicomic to discover only this week that I have given out a prophecy in January 1999 that seems to predict Brexit. But I am also thankful that prophesying is not a popularity contest, as this prophecy is unlikely to make me any more popular than before. But I believe that, nevertheless, it is a word for this season.

In 1999, I gave out series of rather lengthy prophecies to some Christian leaders. I stored them in a folder and put them in a storage cupboard after a house move, as I thought that my task of delivering them had been done. I only found them again around two years ago.

A few days ago, when I was writing about prophecies I have received for Italy, I became disturbed about an apparent contradiction between what I see God is already doing in Europe and something that in my prophetic understanding should already have happened before that. So, I read through those prophetic files again to find out if I had missed something important.

Sandwiched between two other prophecies was a section on what I believe is applicable to Brexit. But more importantly, the prophecy is really about what will happen after Brexit rather than Brexit itself. Unfortunately, I am unable to share the whole prophecy, which is around three pages long, as much of it concerns the private matters of individuals. And that was the reason why I had never revisited these prophecies, as I had thought that my business was delivery only.

The Brexit part of the prophecy I gave out in January 1999 says: 

“I shall bless England with an awakening, but I shall also judge her. Even when the direction of this nation will seem to have changed, the same powers of hell that shall break loose in the Continent, shall also break loose in the UK. The resistance against the gospel shall be taken away for a moment, in order to bring the great harvest in. After that hell shall break loose, and church shall be faced by tribulation after tribulation. But My genuine servants shall rejoice because of the great harvest, that will keep on coming into the Kingdom.”

Now, after this prophecy, which I received over 18 years ago, I have received many other prophetic words, such as a prophecy about 30 years of reformation in Europe, and more recently, a  full interpretation of the prophetic words for Italy, so I have always looked at the near future of Europe positively, although I have always believed that in the long run, dark clouds will be gathering over Europe. But it is our task not just to prophesy what will happen in the next generation, but also to do the work tasked for this generation, hence I have always been more focused on the work we can do in this generation than prophesying what will happen to the next, work such as bringing the Middle Eastern refugees coming to Europe to Christ.

First of all, at the time when I received this prophecy, I had zero understanding of it. And at the time of the referendum I didn’t even remember it, as the more recent prophecies about Europe were fresh on my mind.

Before the Brexit section of the prophecy, the prophecy forecast the increase of Christians in London (which has now happened), and issues linked to the Parliament. 

Then the prophecy moves to talking about England, and the seeming change of direction of the nation. We should always read the wordings of prophecies carefully. And the wording of this prophecy is significant, as after England it moves on to talking about the UK, for it was England that voted to change the direction of this nation, but the decision is affecting the whole UK. And it says that it will "seem" that Britain will take a different direction than the Continent, which is where we are now.

But this prophecy is not a political commentary about whether the Brexit decision was right or wrong, but a reminder that the real battle we are in is not against the EU or any other political system, but against the power of principalities. What this prophecy is saying that no matter what, we are still under the influence of the same principalities and powers that Europe is under, and no amount of political decision making will change it.

In essence, what the prophecy is saying is that this opting out from the EU won't matter much, at least on spiritual level. God is saying that Britain will be unable to opt out from the spiritual battles over Europe. It remains to be seen what this means on political level, but that is not really my concern here.

I fear that much of the British Evangelical Church has embarked on a political battle, when it really is a time of harvest. This very weekend when I am writing this, around 600 converts from Islam into Christianity are gathering in a church in Finland, and we are supplying some of them with resources for discipleship. This shows that we can either prophesy against the islamisation of Europe through the flow of refugees, like many do, or we can focus on winning these people for Christ. I think we should rejoice in the Harvest. 

I believe that we are entering a season of harvest in Europe, and that there will be a window of opportunity lasting about 30 years. 

This is one of the only two prophetic words I have received about Brexit. The other one I received around a week before the referendum, and it troubled me greatly. The Holy Spirit asked me to read Jeremiah 27 when I was praying over the coming referendum. In essence, I believe that Jeremiah 27 gives us an appropriate interpretation of where we are as a nation related to the EU.

'In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim, the son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, 2 “Thus says the Lord to me: ‘Make for yourselves bonds and yokes, and put them on your neck, 3 and send them to the king of Edom, the king of Moab, the king of the Ammonites, the king of Tyre, and the king of Sidon, by the hand of the messengers who come to Jerusalem to Zedekiah king of Judah. 4 And command them to say to their masters, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel—thus you shall say to your masters: 5 ‘I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are on the ground, by My great power and by My outstretched arm, and have given it to whom it seemed proper to Me. 6 And now I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant; and the beasts of the field I have also given him to serve him. 7 So all nations shall serve him and his son and his son’s son, until the time of his land comes; and then many nations and great kings shall make him serve them. 8 And it shall be, that the nation and kingdom which will not serve Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, and which will not put its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, that nation I will punish,’ says the Lord, ‘with the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, until I have consumed them by his hand. 9 Therefore do not listen to your prophets, your diviners, your dreamers, your soothsayers, or your sorcerers, who speak to you, saying, “You shall not serve the king of Babylon.” 10 For they prophesy a lie to you, to remove you far from your land; and I will drive you out, and you will perish. 11 But the nations that bring their necks under the yoke of the king of Babylon and serve him, I will let them remain in their own land,’ says the Lord, ‘and they shall till it and dwell in it.’”’” 12 I also spoke to Zedekiah king of Judah according to all these words, saying, “Bring your necks under the yoke of the king of Babylon, and serve him and his people, and live! 13 Why will you die, you and your people, by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence, as the Lord has spoken against the nation that will not serve the king of Babylon? 14 Therefore do not listen to the words of the prophets who speak to you, saying, ‘You shall not serve the king of Babylon,’ for they prophesy a lie to you; 15 for I have not sent them,” says the Lord, “yet they prophesy a lie in My name, that I may drive you out, and that you may perish, you and the prophets who prophesy to you.” 16 Also I spoke to the priests and to all this people, saying, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Do not listen to the words of your prophets who prophesy to you, saying, “Behold, the vessels of the Lord’s house will now shortly be brought back from Babylon”; for they prophesy a lie to you. 17 Do not listen to them; serve the king of Babylon, and live! Why should this city be laid waste? 18 But if they are prophets, and if the word of the Lord is with them, let them now make intercession to the Lord of hosts, that the vessels which are left in the house of the Lord, in the house of the king of Judah, and at Jerusalem, do not go to Babylon.’ 19 “For thus says the Lord of hosts concerning the pillars, concerning the Sea, concerning the carts, and concerning the remainder of the vessels that remain in this city, 20 which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon did not take, when he carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, from Jerusalem to Babylon, and all the nobles of Judah and Jerusalem— 21 yes, thus says the Lordof hosts, the God of Israel, concerning the vessels that remain in the house of the Lord, and in the house of the king of Judah and of Jerusalem: 22 ‘They shall be carried to Babylon, and there they shall be until the day that I visit them,’ says the Lord. ‘Then I will bring them up and restore them to this place.’”'

I know this is not the word many will like. But it seems to me that like Babylon, God has instituted the EU to rule nations, at least on the Continent, in our time. Like with Babylon, this might be an ungodly rule, but it is a rule that will, nevertheless, last for a season. The historical context (see this article) to Jeremiah 27 is that at the time, Babylon was suffering from a civil war and the false prophets were encouraged by that, prophesying the imminent collapse of the whole empire. In a similar way, many Christians claim, falsely, I believe, that Brexit will lead to many other exists from the EU. They understand that being outside the EU can be economically harmful, but their support for Brexit has been based on the idea that Brexit will ultimately lead to the collapse of the EU, the “evil empire”

But even if that scenario were to happen, we would still be fighting against the same principalities and powers than before, for according to the Bible, our battle is not political but spiritual. But it is because of the politicisation of the Charismatic movement in America and their influence here, that many are increasingly seeing the battle against principalities and powers as a political battle.

But I believe that God is saying is that no matter what we want or not, we will have to be living with the empire next door, and that we shouldn’t make our future plans through pretending that it won’t exist tomorrow. 

I don’t assume that I understand everything that will happen in Europe and the UK because of Brexit. Neither do I think for a moment that when Jeremiah says in the verse 17: “Do not listen to them; serve the king of Babylon, and live! Why should this city be laid waste?” that those words left his lips easily. 

I am sure that his preferred option was for Jerusalem to be the capital of Judah, a free and independent nation. But that option was not on the menu. 

As for me, whatever happens next politically, my focus will be on enabling the Church to bring in the harvest that God has promised will come. For the prophecy I was given was never about Brexit but that when it would happen, we should get ready to bring in the harvest—in Britain and Europe.

I believe that we are coming to a season of 30 years of reformation in Europe, and that millions of Europeans, including Britons, will find Jesus at this time. And that should be the main concern of the Church—if we still believe that there is a difference between the destinies of people in eternity and not just on earth.

You can connect with Marko on Twitter @markojoensuu and on Facebook at facebook.com/marko.joensuu or by visiting markojoensuu.com. 



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