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      Watchman.Net Prophetic Dissonance
Chip Brogden
This article
originally appeared at
Watchman.Net

"The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high," that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground? Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the Lord"
----- Obadiah 3,4

Now that I have some name recognition among those in the prophetic community I feel such an intense peer pressure to look, sound, and be like those around me. Unfortunately I feel I have very little in common with what is labeled "prophetic" these days. I find myself reluctant to associate with them, and equally reticent to refer others to their writings, words, Visions and dreams. I have avoided writing this article for months, but over and over the Lord keeps bothering me. Have you ever had the Lord to bother you? Until now I haven't been able to put my finger on it, but within my spirit there has been a sense of something not right in the world of the prophets.

NOBODY KNOWS ANYTHING
I have before me conflicting reports of a coming revival and a coming judgment. One prophesies a blow-out revival to eclipse all we've seen so far. Another prophesies a coming destruction of cataclysmic proportions. Of course, each says the other is in error, maybe not directly, but if you take what they say to heart there exists such a dichotomy that one automatically excludes the other. Oh yes, this is a screwy business, this prophetic wrangling back and forth. No one knows who or what to believe. I call it "Prophetic Dissonance" -a cacophony of conflicting voices, all claiming to speak for God, that merge into a mind-numbing, paralyzing buzz.

Christians have been so dumbed-down and hyped-up by free-lance amateur prophets that their minds instantly equate "prophetic" with "future" -and this is not what prophetic means at all. In can involve the future, but not without addressing the NOW. Jesus told John the Beloved, "Write the things which you have seen (past), the things which are (present), and things which shall be (future)." First comes a personal history with the risen Christ, the foundation of the prophetic word. Then comes an accurate and specific interpretation and introspection into what is Jesus is saying to the Church NOW. Finally comes a disclosure of what the Lord intends to do in days to come and how His purpose is to be fulfilled.

Jesus is central to everything prophetic. The Book of Revelation is not the revelation of future events, it is the revelation of JESUS CHRIST in past, present, AND future.

If a prophet has no personal history with God, no spiritual depth to draw from, no deep root in firm soil established over many seasons of Christian experience, how can the prophet presume to speak from a position of revelation into what God is telling the Church today? Furthermore, if a prophet cannot accurately interpret and read the signs of the present times; if a prophet cannot correctly judge and precisely discern his own generation; if a prophet cannot relate to what God is saying and doing in terms of present truth, how can the prophet presume to speak of future events?

This soulish anticipation and curiosity into the end times and future events is not prophetic at all. It is no more than gazing into a crystal ball with a cross on it. The plain truth is no one has any clue about what will happen. Nobody knows anything. God has not shown you something set in stone about the future of mankind, the destruction of America, the weather patterns for the next two decades, the identity of the Antichrist, World War III, and global warming. I am weary of reading yet another Nostradomus-type prognostication into the future, dressed up in flowery spiritual language and Christian-speak, attempting to pass itself off as "prophetic" when it is nothing of the sort. Predictions, predictions, predictions, but where is Christ in the midst of all this fortune-telling? Yet Christians will lap it up, flock to the websites that peddle this tripe, copy them down and email them all over creation. I've been guilty of it myself. Shouting, "Fire!" in a crowded theater, when there is no me, will get you the attention you crave -but it could also kill someone in the stampede that ensues.

Well did the Spirit speak of this generation when He said, "These people prophesy dreams and visions, and say 'thus saith the Lord', when I have not sent them. " I have to conclude that either God is schizophrenic, or somebody has their wires crossed.

"PROPHETIC" BY ASSOCIATION
What is the one symbol most commonly associated with ministries that claim a prophetic gift? By and large it is the eagle. This is easily verified by perusing their websites.

Of course we know the verse from Isaiah which talks about mounting up with wings as an eagle and restoring our youth like the eagle, etc. These are wonderful verses. But what happened? In typical self-loving, self-centered, soulish style we took these precious promises and shifted the focus off of the Lord and onto the eagle (just like we successfully channeled the focus off of the Bridegroom and onto the Bride). The eagle, soaring high above it all, majestic and beautiful, typifying all we want to be. And oh yeah, the Lord is in there somewhere if you look hard enough.

The eagle has become the unofficial symbol of the prophetic ministry. I have no issue with eagles themselves. I'm not saying get rid of your eagles. Yet the Spirit of the Lord spoke to me once said:

"The eagle is an unclean bird."

I thought, "Really?" At the first opportunity I looked it up. Yes, the eagle is considered a bird ofprey. Because it feeds on, among other things, the bodies of dead animals (same as a vulture), it's non-kosher, or "unclean". Interesting, I thought, but what does that have to do with anything?

The Lord showed me how the eagle has been made to symbolize the prophetic ministry. Then He directed me to the passage quoted from Obadiah. That got my attention. Please read it again:

"The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high," that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground? Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the Lord." --- Obadiah 3,4

Now I know someone out there who likes eagles is already ashen-faced and upset that I would be so nit-picky and fault-finding to even take time to address something so seemingly insignificant. But I find it a very pertinent and important topic for discussion because the use of symbols like eagles, lions and such is contributing to a bad case of prophetic dissonance. Let us probe below the surface and examine this issue from the perspective of Joe Christian and from the perspective of Prophet John Doe.

First, Joe Christian surfs the Web and browses some sites claiming to be prophetic. Joe learns to associate certain symbols with prophetic themes: mostly eagles, lions, swords, etc. After awhile Joe either consciously or unconsciously lends instant credibility to anyone utilizing the same symbols and phraseology; even the colors used are significant in reinforcing the prophetic association. Obviously, the problem is that anyone can use these symbols and images to give themselves an air of authenticity which is anything but authentic.

McDonald's, Wal-Mart, Ford -every business knows the value of trademarks, exclusives, symbols, logos, copyrights and patents. You can't cook hamburgers and put a McDonald's logo on them. You can't open a thrift shop and hang a Wal-Mart sign on it. You can't build a car out of cardboard and stick a Ford decal on it. But that's precisely what's happening in prophetic circles today!

Prophet John has a "word" he wants to get out (never mind the fact that he's already got business cards printed up with his new title on them, which should tip us off to a problem from the beginning). Building credibility takes time. Too much time. He "knows" he's the real deal with a "real" message, and this "word" needs to get out to the whole Body of Christ, so how to go about it? He'll design a website and put eagles, lions, thunder and lightning, whatever. Surprisingly, he'll begin to feel even more "prophetic" having surrounded himself with these symbols. Then he'll include some articles by famous people along with his own concoction of spiritual-sounding jargon, adding a healthy dose of typology, numerology, and mysticism. Then he'll put up links to every known site that even faintly resembles prophetic ministry, join all the prophetic webrings and networks and presto! Another prophetic website is born and "Joe Christians" from all over the world flock to it, trying in vain to peep around the corner and down the street into the future.

Never mind that "Prophet" John does not have a clue as to what prophetic integrity is all about. Never mind that he has no accountability whatsoever to anyone. Never mind that he violates the basic principles of Scripture with his visions, dreams and words from God. Never mind that he totally contradicts himselfha1fthe time, and the rest of the time he is completely unintelligible. Never mind that he couldn't discern the signs of the present age, much less the future, even if the answers were written down for him on cue cards and held three inches off the end of his nose. He looks, feels, sounds, and acts just like everyone else in the prophetic ministry. He's got a "happening" website, accentuated with other notable prophetic writings, links out the yin-yang, and quadrillions of hits per month. He must be a prophet!

And so prophetic dissonance is turned up another few notches, until eventually the whole prophetic word, even the prophetic calling itself, is distorted beyond recognition.

THE BOTTOM LINE
What I'm saying to those of you wandering about, looking for the latest "word from God" in prophetic cyberspace, Revival Land or where ever, is this: be careful that no man deceive you.

As I look across the prophetic landscape, sample the pathetic fruits of what it has to offer me, and judge the pitiable oracles it attempts to pass off in the Name of God, I have but one reaction in my gut, and that is: SOULISHNESS, SOULISHNESS, and MORE SOULISHNESS. I am weary of self-promotions, letters of recommendation, mutual admiration societies, trumpet-blowing, back-scratching, butt-covering, shadows without substance, clouds without rain, wells without water, and fig trees without figs! Well did Solomon say of this generation of mad prophets, "In the multitude of dreams and many word~ there are also divers vanities.

Test all things. Hold fast to Truth.

What I'm saying to those of you who feel called to write and speak as a prophetic voice, ask yourself if you've adopted the same look and feel as "the rest". If so, ask yourself why. Ask yourself why it's SO necessary to be associated with those prophetic webrings and organizations and search engines and directories. Have you fallen into the trap of self-promotion? Do you feel constrained by prophetic peer pressure? Are you one of the 400 that has to say what everyone else is saying, or can God use you to be the solitary voice. if necessary, that cuts across the shuck and jive of today's techno-prophets?

Ask yourself: am I trying to build upon the words of others in order to take a shortcut to respectability? Am I attempting to denominate myself with the "company of the prophets" in order to have my authenticity taken for granted?

God forbid! Let all your people get mad; let the rest of "God's Anointed" send you hate mail: let the whole Church unsubscribe from your lists, shake the dust off their feet and go elsewhere: but speak the truth you hear from God without compromise or apology. Always speak the truth.

The eagle is an unclean bird. Quit feeding off of dead stuff and return to fresh manna. Most of all, quit expecting us to eat your wormy leftovers from yesterday.


Watchman.Net

Chip Brogden is the founder of Watchman.Net. Visit Chip's site and read his many quality articles about Church life and the role of the prophet in today's world. Or write Chip at info@watchman.net

This article Copyright 1997-1999, originally appeared at Watchman.Net


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