Understanding the change that occurred in the life and ministry of Jesus, as it relates to the function of the prophet, leads to a fresh perspective on what we commonly call, “New Testament prophets.”
The turning point comes with Jesus, of course, but the revelation foundation begins with John. What John prepares history to receive provides us a fundamental insight into what is needed for us to understand the prophet in the reset of kingdom Jesus establishes.
Jesus makes the greatest reset of kingdom in history. As Son of David, sitting upon the throne of David, He makes the kingdom David established eternal as a spiritual kingdom with natural world influence. In doing so, the prophet John stands in a unique moment of transitional function, honoring the old while anticipating the new.
In the Season of Actualization
Prophets who prophecy in a generation in which things prophesied for generation will be fulfilled, as we are right now, do function uniquely.
It is not that John is so unique as his assignment is unique and John’s response to the assignment makes him unique. He is prophet. He is Messianic prophet. He is the last of one thing yet not the first of another, so he is uniquely transitional.
John is a prophet that will not succeed in terms of seeing what he announces and anticipates come to pass; however, he is a prophet who will see what he anticipates reach the fullness and fulfillment in a way no other prophet has ever seen. He is like no other in greatness because of his assignment. He will remain least in the kingdom because his generation will utterly fail at responding to the prophet’s leadership. He will be the culmination of a process of anticipation but not the initiator of the Messianic age.
Understanding John is key to understanding the life and ministry of Jesus as a basis for understanding kingdom reset in which New Testament prophets now function. In the season of actualization, prophets hold onto the fuller body of work spoken by previous generations, who did not live to see what they prophesied, while living that fullness and fulfillment with anticipation of a prepared and positioned Remnant people properly responding to the season of actualization.
John is the greatest. John is the least. The words of Jesus concerning John do not assume the absence of prophets in the kingdom after His life and ministry – we know He personally bestowed prophets upon the kingdom Ecclesia – they reveal the horrifying rejection of a His generation to the accumulated revelations that should have made them the most prepared people on earth and in history for Messiah’s arrival.
Yet, they all missed the manger!
Step into this understanding: we are now in a season of actualization. The kingdom reset is not as great as the one Jesus originated, but He is originating another reset with historic upheaval and consequence nearly as great. Again, He looks for preparation and positioning of the Remnant as the basis for actualization of the accumulated prophetic anticipation. He is looking for forerunners, for sure, but He is looking for prophetic leadership within a prepared and positioned Remnant that John could not enjoy.
Jesus revealed in “the glory of His kingdom,” tells Simon, James, and John that John is the Elijah prophesied to arrive for a season of preparation, a forerunner and pioneer prophet for a time of actualization. Jesus says, “In rejecting John, they rejected Me.” Having refused the preparation and positioning, the Remnant people and generation refusing Messiah, failing to understand that Messiah would arrive to restore kingdom, kingdom culture, and kingdom conquest.
Instead of receiving the preparation, Jesus’ generation held onto their substitutes for kingdom, kingdom culture, and kingdom conquest. Their own kingdom based upon political factions operating against the kingdom’s purposes. Their own culture based upon traditions of the fathers that made kingdom culture of no effect. Their own conquest that makes a proselyte a twofold child of hell.
Jesus says, “All the Law and prophets prophesied with reference to John.” (Matthew 11) The tense and sense of this phrasing says, “The ultimate goal of all that prophetic leadership and function was the prophetic leadership and function of John. What they did and said, and how they led, anticipated John. They were attempting to prepare and position a Remnant culture for the arrival of Messiah. When Messiah arrived, however, John was required to prophetically respond to generations of failure, so John is least in the kingdom that Messiah resets while greatest in the accumulated anticipation of Messiah’s arrival.
John cannot function in response to the age of salvation for Israel but in preparing and positioning a Remnant for kingdom reset. (Paul finds some of those disciples in Ephesus years later and begins with them to initiate regional Awakening.) And what John accomplishes means John fades while Jesus flares. Both bright lights will be extinguished by a Remnant generation in rebellion, but the process will produce something far greater than history had ever seen before!
Here we stand. Is the Remnant prepared and positioned? To what extent is this true? To what extent do we consider this aspect of accumulated prophecy into our time of actualization function?
Prophets Right Now
In the moment of reaching a high point of prophetic anticipation, the prophets functioning right now should be more radical in preparation and positioning than any of the previous three or four generations. We are not anticipating as much as we are preparing and positioning with urgency: God is serious, and God is in a hurry!
We have moved far toward “Prophecy for Dummies” as if merely hearing Holy Spirit, as all believers do, is a sign or symptom of “prophetic” operation. This is neither the gift of prophecy or the prophet in function. From that immature accumulation of a subculture comes the exact opposite of what the prophets should be doing: namely, a rebellious rejection of forerunner leadership at the very time is becomes more essential to the kingdom!
The immaturity of the prophetic accumulation producing a bottomline of “I can hear God for myself, so I don’t need anyone telling me what to do.” Yet, we live in a moment of history that demands prophets function at the foundational levels, preparing the Lord a people ready for the next season.
The idea that activating people in prophetic gifting and operations takes away from the development of a prophetic culture can only come from a non-Biblical source. God designs and defines the prophet to foundational function, so the maturing of the prophetic would make people more likely to hear and respond to prophets than at any other time in history!
If we are producing a response to prophets that empties the kingdom of the need for them, we do err exceedingly in our approach to the prophetic!
If the prophets are not confronting what limits the preparedness of this generation for the season of actualization, we do err exceedingly!
If prophets are functioning at the foundational level, the lack of kingdom culture has become so desperate in it absence that we can no longer prioritize spiritual stuff without immediate, radical correction. If our grasp of “the supernatural” is so childish and immature that it produces lawlessness in the kingdom instead of vastly improved and increased submission to kingdom culture’s principles, procedures, and protocols, we will as unprepared for the season of actualization as Jesus’ generation was for the manger.