Saturday, November 10, 2012

"Last Days" Prophecies - A Different Perspective

With all the ominous prophetic words being released these days, I wanted to reconsider the theology we use to interpret and apply prophetic declarations and suggest that perhaps an alternative view might allow us to see them in a better light.

You don't have to look very far to find prophets declaring a future that looks pretty bleak. There are thousands of prophetic words in circulation that foretell massive earthquakes, tsunamis, wars and famine. With all these declarations of gloom and doom, it's hard to have an optimistic view of the future. It occurred to me that maybe we need to take a fresh look at the process we use to evaluate, interpret and apply prophetic words.

When we look at prophecies, we need to do a few things according to Scripture:

1) We must discern whether or not they're from God.
2) We must discern if they're being interpreted and applied correctly.
(See 1 Cor 14:29)

For some, these prophetic words portray an expansion of the kingdom of darkness. Many hold a view that it is not the kingdom of darkness that will increase as we move forward, but the kingdom of light. Seeing a conflict with a victorious view of eschatology, they dismiss these prophetic words as rubbish.

So let me propose an alternative explanation that supports a victorious eschatology and validates these prophetic words.

The major objection to these prophecies is the idea that through catastrophic events, God is judging a sinful, rebellious world. If you understand that God has removed the sin of the world and it's judgment at the cross, you should understand that there is no more need for judgment. So why would God continue to judge mankind through catastrophic events?

Jason Westerfield's Revelation
Not long ago, I listened to a message from Jason Westerfield where he discussed the revelation he'd received from God concerning the earthquakes in Christ Church, New Zealand, where he lives. The revelation he received was that the earthquakes resulted not from God's judgment on man, but on the removal of powers of darkness that had been reigning over those places. I apologize for my inability to recall the details of exactly how the powers of darkness were defeated, but the short story is - they were defeated (or perhaps judged) and then removed. In the process of being removed from their place of power, they created some earthquakes in that region.

Jason is a well-known and trusted prophetic voice. If his revelation is true, then the catastrophic events that happen in the earth may be attributed to something other than God's wrath. They may instead, be a result of us waging warfare successfully against the kingdom of darkness. And if that is the case, then the prophetic words about catastrophes, need to be re-examined in light of this revelation.

The next thing I'd like to consider is how we might accomplish the task of removing the powers of darkness over a region.

I don't engage in direct warfare against the powers of darkness in the heavens over my region. I've never received revelation from God on how to do that, nor has He told me that it's my responsibility. But I do have friends who engage in such warfare. They've been given protection and revelation on how to do it and not get killed. I think there may be a means to accomplish that objective in a way that doesn't expose us to the kind of danger we'd encounter by visiting the enemy's turf.

Ian Clayton - The Courts of Heaven
If you're familiar with Ian Clayton, you probably know that he has a series of lectures on the courts of heaven. (If you're interested in hearing this teaching, there is a link at the bottom of the note to the podcast) Clayton teaches that we, as believers, have access to the courts of heaven. We can bring a case before the court and ask for a ruling. Clayton has appeared in court and asked that his adversary appear with him, citing the principle found in Zec 3:1-2, where Satan appeared beside Joshua, the high priest.

Clayton says that if we stand in a heavenly court and ask that judgment be delivered, while standing under the covering of God's testimony, (which prevents judgment from falling on us) the judgment falls only on our adversary. He points out that it's dangerous to appear before the court on our own merit, as justice is blind and will fall upon us if we're not standing under the covering of God's testimony. He goes on to say that once our adversary is judged, he is removed from the place he held power over and that seat of power is given to us. This is a key point - the powers of darkness must be removed from their place of power and the seat of power given to a son of God.

This example could be used by anyone who is willing to take the spiritual forces over their region to court. The good news is - the powers of darkness are de-throned. The bad news is - they seldom leave without causing a little damage. In being de-throned, they may stir up a hurricane, for example. Remember that Jesus rebuked a storm at sea, which tells us that storms can be a tool of the enemy. The enemy may also create floods, volcanoes and earthquakes.

Clayton teaches that one of the things we must do is to mitigate the damage done by the powers of darkness as they depart the scene. It's not enough for us to occupy the seat of power. We must also pray for as little damage to occur in the earth as possible.

It wouldn't be hard to imagine the consequences to the earth if hundreds or thousands of these rulers of darkness were removed in a short period of time. There would be wide-spread and potentially devastating destruction around the globe, if we fail to mitigate the damage in the process of having them removed. If the powers of darkness were cast down to the earth - all hell would break loose down here and we might expect an increase in demonic activity and persecution of the saints. Mike Bickle had a dream not long ago, where he saw this exact scenario take place. The dream was recorded on February 13, 2009.

Mike's Bickle's Dream
"I had a long, vivid prophetic dream. I woke up at 2:30 AM with a deep sense of reality.

In this dream I was in an outdoor conference with maybe 40,000 people. The conference venue was in an outdoor baseball stadium in a large fair ground. I was preaching on prayer, power and end-time judgment. I spoke at the two afternoon sessions. Leaders and their people from many different charismatic streams were there. I remember seeing Bill Johnson and his people at the conference. We were enjoying warm fellowship together.

In the break between the sessions, some were debating whether what I was preaching was right or wrong. IHOP people were talking to some from the various charismatic streams in the Body of Christ. They were debating in a friendly way about God’s power and prayer and its relationship to end-time judgment. There was no hostility but sincere debate with most of the people talking with humility and love. It was actually enjoyable.

I finished preaching after the second session about 5 PM, when the events of Rev. 12:7-9 began to occur. Demonic principalities were being cast to the earth. They looked like very large snakes (over 100 yards long and 50 feet thick) with large heads that looked like a dragon. Many of them were descending from the sky down to the earth. No one at the conference had sufficient understanding or faith to respond in power and confidence. All the leaders and the people in the various charismatic streams ran in fear and confusion, including the IHOP people.

These snake-like-principalities were filled with rage against the people. These were angry and even humiliated about being confined to the earth."

(There is more that Mike shares on his dream. If you're interested in reading the entire message, there is a link at the bottom of the note.)

If we put these concepts together, we can see that all of these "prophecies of doom"  could indeed happen, and they would not be the result of God's wrath upon mankind, but the result of His children taking their rightful place of authority over their respective geographic regions.

Now I'd like to consider one last point....

Along with prophecies of natural disaster, there have been prophecies that speak of a great "last days" revival. Many believe it will be the greatest revival of all time. I can't help but wonder if that revival isn't the reward God has in store for us for the time when we get our act together as a body and storm the gates of hell like Jesus said we would. If there were to be a massive removal of the powers of darkness from the heavens, it may be the thing that ushers in an unprecedented release of God's glory in the earth. Yes, there would probably be some chaos, but the light shines brightest in the darkness.

This scenario is (more or less) what a lot of prophetic folks have seen in terms of a "last days" scenario, albeit from a different perspective. Personally, I think we need to see things from a different perspective. I think there is a way to integrate the present prophetic words that seem to indicate 'doom and gloom' with a victorious eschatology.

The key to developing such a view is to permit ourselves to think outside the box of traditional interpretations and to pull together the pieces of revelation others have so that the picture becomes larger than just the piece we've been given.