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. 

Over the last few years the Holy Spirit has been speaking to me regularly about Italy. This has painted a rich picture of what He is planning to do. But it was only after I visited Milan this August that I have the full picture, and I understand what God is saying. 

It is my firm conviction that in the next few years God will begin to confound the negative expectations of both the world and many Christians, and begin a new move in Europe. And I believe that one of the major centres of this new move will be in the northern Italy.

The primary functions of prophecy in the Church

Prophets can speak to individuals, encouraging them, warning then and helping them to find direction from God. In this process, the prophets should never usurp the position of God—after all we all have only one Father and Master, and we all have been given the same Holy Spirit. If you want to learn more about this, please read my book Five Movements: Winning the Battle for Your Prophetic Gift

But here I am concerned of the function of prophets when it comes to the mission of the whole Church.

Perhaps the clearest picture of what are the major functions of the prophets—and apostles—in the New Testament Church can be found in Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians. 

Most Christians in the Charismatic Church are familiar with the existence of the fivefold ministry, but we often miss the primary purpose of these ministries. According to Ephesians 4:11-16, the purpose of the fivefold ministry is to connect the body to the Head. And what is fascinating is that, according to the apostle Paul, this is mainly achieved by dealing with false doctrines!

What Paul seems to say that is that it is easy to hear from God, once you remove the false doctrines and teachers that disconnect the body from the Head. So, the Church needs the prophets, together with the apostles, teachers, pastors and evangelists to deal with the false doctrines, and in their respective areas, help to connect the Church to Jesus. The fivefold ministry is like a surgeon that reconnects the body to the Head, and after the job is done they are redundant. They only have authority to align to the Head, not to themselves.

But unfortunately, so many ministries today, seeking to profit from the body, attempt to connect the Church to themselves rather than to the Head!  The end result is that the body will feed them and wither rather than the Head energising, growing  and directing the body—this results in a partially paralysed zombie body!

But there is a second primary function for prophets in the New Testament. Paul writes in Ephesians 3:1-10:

“For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles—if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel, of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power. To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ;  to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places". 

According to Paul, the function of the apostles and prophets of his time was to make known the mystery of God that the Gentiles would also be coheirs of salvation. This function was primarily fulfilled by the apostles in the Early Church and by the prophets in the Old Testament and the Early Church.

But there is another function linked to this function: make known the administration of this mystery of salvation. And this function continues today, as each generation needs to know how God’s grace to the Gentiles is administered in their generation.

Unfortunately, the verse 9 is where NKJV fails us, as it speaks about “the fellowship of the mystery”, whereas most other translations use the words “administration” or “stewardship” of the mystery.

The Greek word Paul is using is oikonomia, the economy of the mystery. But to use the word economy today would be misleading, as in Paul’s times it had a slightly different meaning than today, so that’s why the translators seem to avoid it.

In Paul’s times the word economy referred primarily to the stewarding of the household finances, with household referring to the economic unit of family, servants and perhaps slaves—all the people depending on the finances of the household. 

So when in Ephesians 2:19 Paul writes, “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God”, he refers to all the people who are part of the Church and part of God’s economy.

It is great to know that we are part of God’s rather than the world’s economy!

It is to the apostles and prophets that God will give the major revelation on how to administer this mystery in their generation, and perhaps in some future generations to come. Now, this doesn’t mean that God doesn’t give any strategies of mission to people who doesn’t call themselves apostles or prophets. Of course He does. But if God has given you great strategies in the area of mission that are being implemented by the Church and not just by yourself personally, there is a fair chance that you are ministering in a prophetic or apostolic anointing and calling without perhaps realising it.

The function of the prophets is to reveal to the Church that this is how God will bring the Gentiles (and Israel) to Him in this generation. The door to the Kingdom is open, but like with Paul, sometimes God is redirecting our mission through prophecy, much as He redirected Paul to go to Macedonia through a prophetic dream.

The apostles and prophets operate in the revelation of how God will administer His grace to the Jews and the Gentiles now and in near future.

Unfortunately, many prophets and apostles have begun to build castles on the temporal sands of this world rather than on the eternal bedrock of the Church—Jesus. They will receive their reward in this time—money, power, fame—but they might be left empty-handed in the age to come.

If you want to understand how this works, please read this post on the work we have been doing in the Middle East. Since then, this work has expanded to facilitate the discipleship of refugees who have converted from Islam in Europe and to helping many Arab churches and ministries in Europe. This is another work we couldn’t have foreseen, but which we had prepared for, faithfully, not fully understanding what we were preparing for.

God is able to use anyone who is dumb but obedient! The dumb know they are dumb, so they don't even think that they can understand God's plan; they simply obey it. Whereas the intelligent often need to understand God's plan before they obey it. And because they will not be able to understand it without obedience, they will never step into it.

The main currency of the household of God is obedience, not intelligence!

So, what I am sharing now is in the context of the Holy Spirit revealing the administration and management of His salvation to the Gentiles: it is time to plant new churches and evangelise in the northern Italy.

Church that looks like Starbucks and Gucci

I had begun to pray for Italy specifically after I had visited Rome and my friend Claudio Ferro in April 2013. Claudio pastors a church in Rome and another one near Viterbo.  As Claudio took us to the Papal Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, the official ecclesiastical seat of the Bishop of Rome, the Pope, the Holy Spirit gave me a clear prophecy for Italy. 

According to the prophecy, God would raise a new church in Italy that to the Italians wouldn’t look like a church at all, but more like “Starbucks and Gucci”, and that church would become very large in Italy. God would use the fact that the new church won't initially look like a church to most Italians to attract especially the youth.

I only understood the meaning of this word better when I visited Milan in August 2017. It has been said that even the beggars in Milan wear Gucci! It is also a city of great creativity, fusing many things together in new ways. The new church would seem very contemporary, and it would be a mixture of Italian and foreign influences. This is not a mission that will be achieved by the Italians alone, but they will be teaming with other nations. 

Light coming from the northern Italy

In winter 2014, I saw a vision of Italy. It was a satellite map of Italy, and in the beginning, the whole map was completely dark. But then, the northern part of Italy lit up, and this light spread rapidly from the northern border down to the area of Florence. Then the spreading of light stopped for a while, until it began to spread slowly toward Rome.

At the time, it was clear to me that a wave of revival would begin to spread from the northern Italy. 

I have visited the northern Italy regularly over the last few years. And I must say that the spiritual atmosphere there is very open. I end up talking about God without even trying to talk about Him. It seems that the northern Italians are very open to contemporary expressions of Christianity, although many of them steer away from Catholicism. Also, when my friend Claudio launched a new church near Viterbo, it has been growing much faster than the one in Rome, with new converts joining the church.

“I have been waiting a thousand years!”

A few years ago, the Holy Spirit started speaking the same words to me again and again: “I have been waiting a thousand years!” 

Unfortunately, He never gave me any clear explanation at the time, although, somehow, I sensed that this word had something to do with Italy. There aren’t many things as frustrating as the Holy Spirit speaking to you clearly about something and then refusing to clarify the issue. But I guess waiting for a thousand years might be even more frustrating!

Again, it was after I visited Milan in August 2017 that the Holy Sprit gave me final clarity on this. On the plane to Milan, I felt that the Holy Spirit was saying that Milan was important and that He would show me why it is important.

The first reason why Milan is important is that it seems that Milan was the birthplace of the first wave of reformation in the early 11th century—nearly 1,000 years ago. 

The Patarine movement was the first reform movement in Italy and probably in Europe. They were a medieval group of lay craftsmen, tradesmen, and peasants who organised in Milan about 1058 to oppose clerical concubinage and marriage; the group later widened its attack to oppose generally the papacy’s moral corruption and temporal powers. The Patarine movement was so called because, under the leadership of Arialdus (Arialdo), a deacon of Milan, its members used to assemble in the Pataria, or ragmen’s quarter of the city (pates being a dialectal word for “rag”). Viewed by the church as heretical, the Patarines, though short-lived in terms of organised activities, became an impetus for a large number of religious-reform movements that arose during the decline of the feudal system and the beginnings of the aspirations to power of the peasant and middle classes.

As far as I know, this was the first significant reform movement in the Church. In many ways, it was only a partial reformation and also at least partially misguided, but so was the Reformation of Luther and Calvin also only a partial reformation. In fact, every reforming movement up to this point has been only partial. The Patarine movement was followed by reformers such as St Francis of Assisi. 

But why would God look into the past when He is speaking about the future? The answer is simple. Christ is the tree and we are the branches. When a branch has been growing in the wrong direction for a while, it is sometimes necessary to go to the beginning of that growth to understand what happened, and if possible, to straighten the branches. That is why the prophets often speak about the reformation of the past,  and renewal, at the same breath than talking about the future mission of the Church. 

“The blood of the martyrs has already been shed”

Another word that the Holy Spirit has been speaking to me about Italy is that the blood of the martyrs has already been shed. 

Milan plays a significant part when it comes to the blood of the martyrs in Europe. The Edict of Milan is a proclamation that permanently established religious toleration for Christianity within the Roman Empire. It was the outcome of a political agreement concluded in Milan between the Roman emperors Constantine I and Licinius in February 313.

 The proclamation, made for the East by Licinius in June 313, granted all persons freedom to worship whatever deity they pleased, assured Christians of legal rights (including the right to organise churches), and directed the prompt return to Christians of confiscated property. Previous edicts of toleration had been as short-lived as the regimes that sanctioned them, but this time the edict effectively established religious toleration.

This was the first time when the persecution of Christians had been permanently illegalised, and it was the establishment of any religious freedom that we have had in Europe for the last 1,700 years. 

I believe God remembers that and will revisit Milan for this reason alone.

Unfortunately, the persecuted soon became persecutors, and it was Como and the area of Milan, being near the borderline of Switzerland and Italy, that fought against the Reformation especially hard. If you read the history files, you find out that the Reformation in fact spread to all parts of Italy, including Rome and cities and places in the south such as Naples and Sicily, but it was crushed ruthlessly with crucifixions, killings and burnings of thousands of reformers.  

The inquisitor of Como, a town by the Lake Como near Milan, was rewarded for his ruthless work for crushing the Reformation in Italy by giving him the position of the Pope! 

So, Milan is the place where our relative Christian freedom was gained for the first time. Milan is also the place where the first steps of reformation were taken, inspiring other reform movements. It is also the place where the spread of the Reformation into Italy was stopped.

I believe that God will once more visit Milan and bring what He started a thousand years ago to fulfilment. 

Two separate visions—both linked to Italy 

In 1996 I saw a vision whilst in London. It began with a map of Britain, and a bright fire burning inside M25 that circles London. Out of that fire flew sparks that travelled to three areas in Finland—to Helsinki, the capital, to Tampere where I studied, and third to my hometown Pori. The spark travelled between these three locations, and suddenly, the whole nation burst in fire. Then, the spark headed to Africa.

Then I saw a man, in the beginning of a long road. There was a beautiful rose by the roadside. He picked it, glanced at it, and tossed it away. The rose died instantly. I understood it was poisonous. It was a bright day and you could see to the end of the road where there stood a huge black figure that resembled the evil Darth Vader from Star Wars films. It released a swarm of demonic bats against the traveller who looked like Luke Skywalker. He pulled his sword out and tried to fight against the bats. The bats completely clouded his vision. The traveller could never defeat the bats with his sword. He should focus on progressing along the road instead. After all, the bats couldn’t hurt him, no matter how ugly and nasty they looked, but they could obstruct his vision.

“The beautiful rose is the sin of spiritual pride,” the Holy Spirit said. “You will pick it up but see that it is worthless. The devil will release a fierce demonic attack against you. The only way you will be able to see will be by listening to My voice.” The vision troubled me. There were elements that seemed clear from the outset. It seemed clear that the fire referred to a coming revival in London, Finland and perhaps elsewhere. In Star Wars, Luke Skywalker has to stop trusting in his natural sight. The Jedi Master Yoda teaches him to fight blindfolded, so that he would learn to rely on the Force rather than his sight. It seemed to me that God was telling me that, likewise, I would not win my future battles if I relied on my natural eyes.

I also knew that Beelzebub, one of Satan’s names, means ‘the lord of the flies.’

So, since 1996 I have been expecting a move of God that will somehow touch London and Finland, and also make some sort of impact in Africa. And I have expected that this move will be greatly opposed by Satan even before its birth.

In 2009, I saw another vision that I know now is linked to Italy. I was in prayer on Sunday night in September 2009 when the Holy Spirit spoke to me. “I’ll show you the throne room and you will see why we’ll win the war. There are certain rules. What matters is who wins.” I was eager to see the throne room of the Lord. “Please Lord, show me the throne room!” I said. Then I fell asleep. When I woke up, I saw a vision but not about the heavenly throne room I had expected.

“This is a mountaintop vision so that you will be able to see what will happen,” the Lord said. I saw an arena for gladiators. There were no fighters alive. The arena had a circular form and no exit or escape routes. It was surrounded by stalls. I stood in the arena, the blood-soaked sand touching my feet. At the centre of the arena there was a large floating sword created from indestructible material. It was the heaviest of all swords but also the lightest. I understood that anyone wielding that sword would be able to crush any resistance, and that nothing could withstand its power.

Hundreds of lightnings struck all around the arena through the performance at the Verona Arena.

It was the most powerful object in the whole universe.

I looked around. All around the arena, there were little thrones with all kinds of disgusting figures seated on them. These were the demons and principalities responsible for attacking people with sins such as pedophilia, adultery and sins of the deepest darkness.

Further away, sitting on the stalls, there were golden pharaoh-looking figures sitting on their larger thrones. They observed me. They were the ones that controlled the demons on the little thrones. These figures were covered with gold and wore the death masks of pharaohs.

“Two things unite all these principalities,” the Lord said. “They all spread filth. They all spread fear.” I could feel the filth and fear oozing from them. “The fear that they spread will paralyse and immobilise the fighters so that they will fall in the trap that has been set before them. The fear emanates from their leader, the devil, and spreads right through the ranks, to the smallest of them.”

The vision ended. The next few months I faced the most intense demonic attack I had ever experienced. Slowly, I was getting weary but two things gave me courage to believe that one day the battle would end. 

Some weeks later I was taken back to the arena in another vision. Two massive angels, around fifteen metres tall, entered the arena and began wielding their mighty swords. The heavy enemy thrones were crushed as if they were made of paper. No one had taken the indestructible sword. The angels’ swords were smaller and less shiny than the indestructible sword. “Who will take that sword?” I asked.

Suddenly, a huge figure, dressed in a white robe, descended into the arena. It was Jesus.

“I’m the Warrior King. I’ll take this sword,” He said. “I’ll fight this war. When I fight a war, I never lose.” Then the Lord, the Warrior King, picked the sword. I realised that the sword had been there for centuries, waiting for Him. The sizes of angels, demons and Jesus in the vision aren’t realistic but illustrate their power in relation to each other.

The angels that went to war were larger than the demonic principalities but Jesus was a lot bigger than anyone else. No one could stand against him. The vision relates to the spiritual shift that has begun to take place in the Middle East. Jesus has gone to war and He will bring millions of Muslims to Him.

When I saw this vision it was clear to me that it primarily concerned the Middle East, but not exclusively. Since then we have seen the rise and the imminent fall of the Islamic State, more terrorism in Europe and the huge influx of Arab refugees in Europe. And in many ways the spiritual destinies of Europe and the Middle East have become mixed.

Two visions merge in Verona

In August 2015, we were at the Verona Arena in Italy to watch Tosca, an open-air opera. The Verona Arena is the most preserved Roman arena in Italy, and it would have been a place where many Christians were martyred. 

A year earlier we had been in Genoa, and we had seen a poster of the Arena on the hotel wall. On the poster,  the arena looked exactly like the arena I had seen in the vision years earlier. The floor of the arena was also covered with red carpet, which resembled the blood-stained sand I had seen in the vision. 

The large prop representing Napoleon, which I saw over 20 years ago in a vision.
Since visiting Genoa, my wife had been dreaming about being there for a long time, and we had finally made it to Verona, but unfortunately, we had booked our non-refundable tickets for an evening when it started to rain in the beginning of the opera. As it is an outdoor arena and the instruments the orchestra uses are invaluable, the show can get cancelled even if it rains a few drops.

The first part stopped and restarted a few times, as it began to rain heavily, and the orchestra kept on leaving and returning with their instruments when the rain started and stopped. We began to pray, as they were considering cancelling the show altogether. But then the rain stopped altogether. The second and third part played uninterrupted. But all around the arena, there were hundreds of lightning strikes, as the thunderstorm ravaged the surrounding area, but stayed away from directly above the arena. It was a bit like what we saw in Trafalgar Square but late at night, with the storm avoiding the arena. But the nearest lighting strikes kept on hitting the ground less than a mile away.

When the main set was revealed it shocked me. It was a huge portrait of Napoleon who had conquered most of Italy. The prop had the exact face of the man I had seen in the vision in 1997, holding the sword, like Napoleon was holding the sword, and walking down the path.

When I had seen the vision in 1997, I had understood then that God was using Star Wars as an allegory, but the man’s face wasn’t Luke Skywalker’s face.

But when I had walked in, I had seen the pharaohs I had seen on the arena in the other vision, but now outside, as they were props from another set. It was as if the pharaohs representing principalities had been pushed out from the arena by the huge figure holding the sword.

That night, the Holy Spirit brought together elements from two major visions I had seen. And they were illustrated by the arena which I had seen in a vision and by props I had seen in a vision—in different times in my life. I had a clear sense that God was calling me to pay very close attention to what was taking place. 

The interpretation of this is now clear to me. God would raise a Church that would have the spiritual authority to dominate the arena of Europe. The pharaohs had been displaced and they were now outside the arena. They were no more dominating Europe. Through the prayers of the saints, the destructive forces of thunder would now be kept outside the arena for a season. The expensive instruments of revival would now be played in Europe like never before. 

There is another aspect to this stream which concerns the influx of the Arabs and other refugees to Europe from the Middle East: the spiritual destinies of Europe and the Middle East are now merged.

Pharaohs from 'Aida', another opera playing at the Verona Arena, pushed aside outside the arena.
It is now when I understand that there was a message through the intervals as well. The first wave of the reformation which was triggered in the 11th century Italy never really took off properly. There were starts and stops, and what was achieved before the Protestant Reformation was rather piecemeal. In one sense, the reformation was nearly cancelled. 

The second stage of the reforming of the Church in Europe advanced uninterrupted. But there is a third stage of the reformation that is yet to come, and it concerns Italy and other “unreformed’ European nations. 

There will be a short season when God’s glory and salvation power will be fully displayed in Europe. And like Napoleon at the gates of Rome, this move of God is at the gates of Europe right now. 

I have really tried to figure out what God would show me many visions over the years and then bring it together on a stage of an opera. Why would He do that? Well, He just did, "to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places". 

In many ways, this arena and bringing together of all these elements visualises how through the Church God will make known His manifold wisdom to the principalities and powers.

It is my firm belief that God will  now finish the job that was started nearly one thousand years ago in Milan and bring the fullness of the reformation to Italy. This won’t probably mean that the Catholic Church would be reformed. But it will mean that there will be a significant presence of new reformed churches in Italy.

Part of this reformation will be the return of spiritual gifts to the body of Christ in Europe, but the new context will be love rather than the stage performance based ministry model that dominates our understanding of the gifts today. I have written about this reformation of our understanding in my book Supernatural Love: Releasing the Compassion of Jesus Through the Gifts of the Spirit.

Now comes a serious warning to us: what has always troubled me about the vision linked to London is that I could only see a fire in London, and not in the rest of Britain. This seemed to imply that we are not talking about a national revival in Britain but about something more limited. I have come to the conclusion that perhaps it is not a revival as such at all, but preconditions for one. 

As I was writing this, the Holy Spirit reminded me that He has in fact, fulfilled the first part of the prophecy, namely that there would be a fire inside the M25. Quietly, almost invisibly, London has become the most religious city in the UK when it comes to sheer number of believers, and also, when it comes to the percentage of believers in the population.

But this religion, including Christianity has mostly been imported. Regardless of denomination, from the Catholics to the Anglicans, the Methodists and the Pentecostals, the church growth that is taking place in London is sustained almost exclusively by immigration. If you go to a Catholic church, it might be Asian, to Hillsong, white, to a black church, African, but it is the immigration flows that are keeping the church of London alive.

For example, between 2005 and 2012, church attendance in London grew from 620,000 to 720,000. The number of churches grew at roughly the same rate. 

So, a great reversal has taken place. White England, Scotland and Wales have largely turned away from God, whereas a zealous fire for Jesus within the M25 is kept burning by a steady flow of immigrants. Like in my vision, the fire is contained, as it is kept alive artificially by adding more and more immigrants into the mix. 

But neither did I see Italy in the original vision, so I don’t think that it is an all-encompassing vision. In fact, I don’t even think that there will be a major revival in London at all preceding it. But this is a European revival and to some extent, the ability of Britain to be part of this revival will be dependent on their relationship with the rest of Europe. Now, Brexit doesn’t mean that Britain won’t be part of Europe, but I have seen many attitudes in the Charismatic Church harden when it comes to Europe. 

I have heard many demonise Europe in Britain, at a time when we are losing our nation. According to a recent survey, 53% of Britons have no religion at all. 

I have made my views on the EU and its institutions clear in this post that deals with the teaching that seeks to demonise the EU. But to those who consider the EU to be an anti-Christian organisation, please remember that the Early Church grew and prospered under the Roman Empire, which was definitely a lot more ungodly empire than any of the post-Roman European empires—perhaps apart from the slave-trading nations of Europe, which include the British Empire. And before we are ready to condemn the Germans, we must remember that Britain was also guilty of starving tens of millions of Indians to death. The truth is that nearly every European nation, including Britain and Finland, have at least in one part of their history done terrible things. 

Much has been made of the non-religious nature of the EU institutions in Britain. But in fact, like with the USA, this has all to do with the separation of state and Church. And in fact, it is the EU and its push for religious freedom that has enabled Charismatic churches to grow in Eastern Europe. If you don’t believe me, just compare the situation in Eastern Europe between the nations that are part of the EU and those who are not. In those countries that are not part of the EU, the persecution of Protestant Christians is still rife, whereas in the Eastern European countries that are part of the EU, the Protestant churches, by and large, have the freedom to grow and prosper.

And it is this same EU and its demand for equality that is enabling the Protestant churches to penetrate the Catholic heartlands without fear of persecution. The last time a wave of reformation tried to push its way to Italy many Protestants were crucified by the Inquisition. This time, it will be different! It will be the EU that will protect the new wave of reformation. It might protect many other things as well, but it will also protect the reformation against any state churches. It might not be the primary purpose of the EU by its designers, but that is the way God is using it.

Things might look different from the British Isles, where it has been centuries since dissidents have been persecuted. But it is only slightly more than 25 years from the end of persecution of Protestant Christians in parts of Eastern Europe. My mother used to smuggle Bibles to Russia, so I am all too aware of this.

So, it is my conviction that although the EU is far from a the perfect institution it could be in the ideal world, God has instituted it in Europe for a season to further religious freedom and enable the coming reformation. 

My advice to the British Church—no matter what you believe about Brexit—is to stay open to the move of God in Europe. You might not accept the European institutions—but the Church and the expansion of the Church have always been universal by nature. So, whatever your political views, don't let them skew your sight when it comes to what God is and will be doing in Italy. 

Why does it sometimes take so much time to receive  and understand prophecy?

I have really struggled with that. Why has God used so many channels and ways to put together one clear message? Why hasn't He just given it to me in one download? 

1. Time is not yet ripe

Daniel 9:1-3 says, “In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the lineage of the Medes, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans—in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the Lord through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.”

Prophets have to learn to wait for extensive periods. Usually, by the time the prophetic word comes true, it has been forgotten by everyone else. Daniel must have been studying the writings of the prophets for years, seemingly in vain. But then one day Daniel grasped it and then he started praying in line with the prophecy.

Daniel 12:8-10 says, “Although I heard, I did not understand. Then I said, ‘My lord, what shall be the end of these things?’ And he said, ‘Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand.’”

So, Daniel finally understood Jeremiah’s prophecy, but he didn’t understand his own prophecy! And even when the events prophesied would eventually happen, only the wise would understand.

The same thing happened with the disciples. John writes in John 20:9, “For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.” So John believed that Jesus had risen, not because he understood the Scripture, but because Jesus had risen! Often, we begin to fully understand prophecy when its fulfilment is already starting, as the fulfilment begins to explain the prophecy.

It was only after the resurrection of Jesus that the disciples began to see that there are multiple prophecies in the Old Testament foretelling the death of Jesus and His resurrection. They had heard Jesus foretell His own death and resurrection, but nothing like that had ever happened. Yes, Jesus had raised Lazarus, but now Jesus Himself was dead.

2. We don’t have the spiritual authority yet

Paul writes in Ephesians 3:14-19: “For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

This is something that we don’t fully understand about revelation—receiving and understanding it takes the strengthening of the inner man through the Holy Spirit—in other words, spiritual authority. 

3. God demonstrates His sovereignty 

Through all this God demonstrates that He is in charge. He is fully in charge of the revelation He gives to us, and without His Spirit we remain unable to understand even the prophecies we have spoken out ourselves! But also, as He is in control of the revelation and its explanation, we have the confidence to share His word, as we know that there is no way we would have even subconsciously manoeuvred our life in such a way that we could have reached the desired end result. In fact, most of the time, we don’t even know what the intended end result is!

But today, I am expectant. I believe that in the next few years we will be finally stepping into something the Holy Spirit also revealed to me in 2009: a season of around 30 years when a wave of reformation and salvation will sweep over Europe. 

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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