A Prophetic Perspective - Nathan Shaw
To gain a prophetic perspective for the times in which we live it is important to understand both where we have come from and also where we are going. During the last few decades God has released strategic revelation that is necessary if we are going to walk in our full inheritance. In addition to this God has a prophetic blueprint for the coming days that gives us insight into that which He is requiring of us in the here and now.
The Charismatic Move – Individual Gifting
During the seventies and eighties there was a powerful move of the Spirit known as the Charismatic move. Many anointed teachers were raised to prominence during this time. Also many mainline churches began to experience the freedom of the Spirit. This combination of God's word and God's Spirit was strategically important. Moving in the gifts of the Spirit and moving in the authority of God's kingdom isn't reserved for a few special people. The Charismatic move emphasized the following:
- Everyone could move in the gifts of the Spirit.
- Everyone could walk in the authority of the kingdom.
- Every member of the body of Christ has unique giftings, callings and destinies in God.
The increased emphasis on individual gifting imparted identity and inspired vision. We are all uniquely special. We are all called to demonstrate God's love in powerful ways.
The Prophetic/Apostolic Move – The Government of the Kingdom
In the nineties there was an emphasis on the ministries of the Prophet and the Apostle. Combined with this there was a greater manifestation of the Spirit. One of the most common manifestations was the joy of the Lord. People would get so overcome with the joy of the Lord they would overflow with contagious laughter. What many people did not realize is that the emphasis on the prophetic and apostolic ministries and the increased manifestation of the Spirit and the joy of the Lord were connected. God was ushering in the government of His kingdom. As Paul says in Romans 14:17, “The kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” The government of heaven rides in on joy. The government of the kingdom is not an earthly government based on hierarchy and control. Rather is it a spiritual government based on honor and respect. Apostles and prophets play a foundational role in establishing the government of the kingdom.
During this powerful move of the Spirit I remember a pastor sharing a vision God had given him. This pastor had experienced a radical move of the Spirit in his church. In the vision a large lorry truck dumped a big pile of stones on the ground. The stones were alive and full of glory but they were still just a pile of stones rather than a glorious building. The revelation of individual gifting is powerful. We are all living stones empowered and energized by the Spirit. The government of the kingdom builds those living stones together as a glorious dwelling place for God in the Spirit.
Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit (Ephesians 2:19-22).
The government of the kingdom establishes an atmosphere where the fruit of the Spirit is normal and natural. Without this people invariably end up striving for position and recognition. There are two realities at work:
- The individual reality - Each member of the body of Christ has unique gifts and calls.
- The corporate reality - We are being built together as a corporate dwelling place.
Understood correctly these two dynamics are not in conflict with each other. Both realities are critically important for the church to advance into her prophetic destiny.
Three Dividing Walls
Once we have understood and embraced the important revelations from past moves of the Spirit we are uniquely positioned to take new ground. A few years ago God spoke to me about three dividing walls that will come down. The first one is to do with the relationship between the Old and New Covenants. The second one is to do with the relationship between men and women. The third one is to do with the relationship between Jew and Gentile. God also showed me that He is going to raise up Apostles whose sole ministries will be to dismantle just one of these dividing walls.
The Relationship Between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant
It is important to understand the correct relationship between the Old and the New Covenants. The enemy has successfully blurred this relationship from as early as the second century. When the impact of this is reversed there will be an explosion of kingdom authority. This is a large subject. To put it very simply there are two theological extremes. One extreme over emphasizes the distinctions between the Old and the New Covenants (dispensationalism), the other extreme under emphasizes the distinctions (covenant or reformed theology). God didn't have a plan A and a plan B. It was part of God's infinite wisdom to reveal Himself to us through both the Old Covenant and the New Covenant.
Today many people have a very simple equation: The Law bad – Grace good. Or Old Covenant bad – New Covenant good. This is incorrect. If we are not careful we end up painting a picture of an Old Covenant God and a New Covenant God that are quite different. As the book of Hebrews says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). The Law was a gift from God to the nation of Israel. It brought great freedom to the nation and set them apart from other nations. God gives good gifts. To be clear, we are no longer under the Old Covenant. But that does not mean that it is bad or that it doesn't have authority to speak to us today. The Old Covenant has been fulfilled in Jesus Christ but it also forms a foundation for the New Covenant. It is a deception to go back under the Old Covenant. Rather we are to understand the prophetic authority of the Old Covenant as laying a foundation for the New Covenant.
There are two important revelations to understand:
- God is the God of covenant.
- All God's covenants are covenants of grace.
When you start with these foundational revelations the distinctions and interrelationships between the Old and the New Covenants become clear. The Law is good. Grace is good. The Old Covenant is good. The New Covenant is good. Mostly when people say the Law is bad they actually mean legalism is bad. They assume that in the Old Covenant salvation was obtained by obeying laws, whereas in the New Covenant it is obtained through faith. Hebrews 11 makes it clear that without faith it is impossible to please God and that Old Covenant saints lived by faith. This is quite significant when you consider that the book of Hebrews deals extensively with the relationship between the two covenants.
This subject seems complex to many and the enemy has deliberately muddied the waters. However, the dividing wall of confusion that has been set up between the Old and the New Covenants is coming down. Many concepts that people find hard to grasp now will become readily understood. There is a glory of wealth in understanding the correct relationship between the two covenants. God deliberately designed it this way. The glory of the New Covenant is greater than the glory of the Old Covenant. However, to walk in the full glory of the New Covenant we must correctly understand the place of the Old Covenant.
God ordained covenant relationship is one of the most beautiful and powerful dynamics imaginable. The Old Covenant and the New Covenant are not just contractual agreements set up by God - He is the God of covenant. Apostolic messengers are being raised up with profound insight and great clarity on this subject.
(For those interested to explore this subject further I recommend Chapter 9 of Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart's book, How To Read The Bible For All It's Worth).
The Relationship Between Men and Women
The dominion mandate given to mankind was given to Adam and Eve.
God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground" (Genesis 1:28).
This revelation is foundational. It has been the enemies purpose since Adam and Eve to erect a dividing wall between men and women. Satan knows that men and women walking together in their God ordained authority will lead to his ultimate defeat. Scripture reveals that ancient Israel was known for its respect for women (e.g. Proverbs 31). This respect was heightened through the ministry of Jesus and the first century church.
It has been a very clever and crafty assignment of the enemy to use Paul's writings to erect a dividing wall between men and women. Instructions from Paul's letters on this subject have often been interpreted to mean the opposite of that which Paul intended. Even simple instructions such as, “The husband is the head of the wife” and “Wives submit to your husbands” have been greatly misunderstood. For the most part modern English readers interpret these statements completely different than their intended meaning.
Men and women carry authority in a unique way. The greatest authority, however, is demonstrated when men and women have mutual respect for each other and walk in authority together. This dynamic is to be modeled in the home and in the church. The greatest demonstration of kingdom authority will happen when the dividing wall between men and women comes down. To counter the misunderstanding on this subject apostolic messengers are being raised up with profound insight and great clarity.
(For those interested to explore this subject further I highly recommend the exceptional scholarship of Philip B. Payne in his book, Man And Woman, One In Christ).
The Relationship Between Jew and Gentile
The greatest days for the church are ahead of us. The glory of God will be demonstrated on an unprecedented level. One of the biggest dividing walls to come down is the dividing wall between Jew and Gentile. When God chose Abraham as the father of the nation of Israel it was the beginning of this distinction between Jew and Gentile. God has an incredible purpose for the relationship between Jew and Gentile. This purpose is yet to be fully revealed. Apostolic messengers will be raised up with profound insight on this relationship.
Paul knew that his apostolic ministry to the Gentiles would provoke the Jews to jealousy. Speaking of Israel's rejection of Jesus Paul says the following.
Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring! I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I take pride in my ministry in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. For if their rejection brought reconciliation to the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? (Romans 11:11-15 NIV).
When the dividing wall of confusion between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant, and the dividing wall between men and women both come down there will be a display of the glory of God that will lead to the dividing wall between Jew and Gentile being ultimately dismantled. This will in turn lead to a phenomenal release of resurrection life.
It's Time To Break The Cycle!
Revival is God's mercy for each and every generation. However, if we move beyond the need for revival and remove ancient dividing walls we will break the cycle of revival and falling away. We are on the brink of a spiritual revolution that will be greater than the reformation initiated by Martin Luther. Now is the time to learn the lessons of past moves of the Spirit but also to have a clear prophetic vision for the future. When revival comes individual generations are impacted. When dividing walls come down history changes forever. Revival gets us back on track. Apostolic authority, on the other hand, releases governmental shifts that change history. Revival gets things back to the way they were before the falling away. Governmental shifts release the earth into dimensions it hasn't experienced before. The days ahead are glorious. Let's make sure we are ready to embrace God's agenda for the times in which we live.
© 2015 Nathan Shaw.
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