Chapter 10 - What is Prophetic Burden?

If a statement were to be made that would sum up the prophetical burden of the last days and of what we should be about in God, then it would, in my opinion, read: The primacy of the prophetic word appropriate to the last day's purposes of God as it pertains to Israel's final redemption through a church, alerted and prepared through such a word, for its (self-transfiguring) part in that restoration. That is a packed statement, and so we need to unpack it. Israel's final redemption is the final, consummating event of God that concludes the age. I cannot imagine that anyone who has any preoccupation with prophets and prophetic things, can omit reference to the single, great, epochal event that is yet future, namely, the restoration of Israel after thousands of years of apostasy and alienation from God. Unless this takes place, then there is no consummation of the age; there is no return of the Lord; there is no establishment of His kingdom, because His kingdom, by necessity, is the kingdom of David, the kingdom promised Israel. It is not, however, the kingdom for Israel's exclusive gratification, but a kingdom that will bless the all the nations through a nation that God has appointed and chosen to play the central role in His 'salvation history', namely, the restored nation, Israel. We must not idealize the kingdom of God as if it is some airy, ethereal and phantasmal thing that has only to do with inward things or certain values. It is a political kingdom as well as it is the other. It is a political kingdom that is predicated upon those values, indeed, but it is authentically the issue of rule. It is the authority of God in His creation, through the nations, influenced by a redeemed nation that has been so long alienated from Him, but restored in the last days through the agency of the church. In fact, my continuing lament and criticism of all of the celebration of prophets in this recent "prophetic" movement is the lack of any reference to Israel and the church's relationship to Israel, considering that this is the most significant thing that is before us historically, and soon to break. There is so little awareness, let alone preparation, that I cannot conceive that there should be a prophetic upsurge and this theme should be absent. The very absence of the theme makes me to suspect whether indeed what is being celebrated is prophetic. There is yet a future, global dispersal and persecution of Jews called in the

Bible, "The time of Jacob's trouble," out of which a remnant will be saved and preserved by the witness of the living God that comes to them through a church of a certain last day's kind. It is a formidable last-day's witness to Jews, who themselves do not welcome such a revelation, and who will be brought to a place of ultimate crisis and distress so as to fit them for its consideration. If it were not for ultimate crisis and distress, then they never would have considered the things that will ultimately save them. It would have been outside of their purview, outside of the things that they would consider as being valid. That is what we Jews are. We are nothing more than man writ large, but man in his final and ultimate depravity and obstinate rejection of God. It will be an epochal event, but it is going to take a church of an ultimate kind. The church is nowhere near that condition presently, and the only way it is going to get there is through the primacy of the prophetic word. Everything is predicated upon the word of God. God will not do anything outside or independent of His word. He has exalted His word above His name. He sent His word and He healed them. Joseph was bound in irons until God's word came. When God sends His Deliverer, it is the Word made flesh. The word is central to God. In the beginning, God said, "Let there be...and there was." The word, therefore, is God's medium, and the prophetic word is a word of an ultimate kind because it is not just a word of information or explanation, though it may include that. It is even beyond the word of inspiration. It is, in the last analysis, a creative word that brings that thing to pass which was not. The word is not spoken abstractly out of some kind of mechanism, but out of flesh and blood organism, out of man with all of his sweat, defect and limitation. I do not know how to say this. No man is more acutely aware of his human limitation than the prophetic man and that is why they always cry out, "I am as a child, I cannot speak." In fact, if they have not that awareness, then they are not even a candidate for use. There is nothing more glaring in contradiction than the nobility of what a prophet is required to speak as being the very mouth of God and for God, and yet coming out of all of the defect and shortcomings of his humanity. It is like a contradiction of an ultimate kind and so men who have that calling are understandably and frequently discouraged. Their humanity is always before them. If the enemy can play upon that sufficiently so as to stop their mouth, which is his frequent attack, then the word does not go forth. We desperately need oracles from God who can say what this hour means, and what it is to which we are tending, and what is God requiring in the light of the things that point to the consummation of the age. We need men who can communicate the word. If a prophet is not distinguished by his speaking, then do not look for his credentials on the basis of his gifting or

his miracles or his gift of knowledge. That would be a real snare. It is not that their messages are not biblical and good, so much as they have not been oracular, that is to say, prophetic in the sense of the weight, intensity and solemnity of the messages. A word can be sound, biblical and doctrinally clean and yet not be a prophetic word. It does not have the weight, nor the meaning or portent nor ultimate requirement that a prophetic word should. We are moving into the dangers of the last days and I believe that it is a giddy love for the demonstration of power in some kind of gifting that will seduce millions of believers who are not to careful to examine the origin of that manifestation, so long as they themselves might be the happy recipient of a word of knowledge about them. People seem to need that, I believe, because they have a deep-seated insecurity in the faith. They have not the knowledge of God, nor the knowledge of themselves in God. They do not see themselves as they ought as accepted in the Beloved. They want a confirmation that God really knows them. To want to need that assurance out of an insecurity in one's faith will move us towards deception. The prophetic standard, which in a certain sense is the statement of God before His people, communicates His fear and His holiness in a real and searching sense. When something is being labeled prophetic and is not, not only is prophetic being denigrated, but God is being denigrated because He Himself is intrinsic to the thing that is prophetic. We need to recognize that and not treat the prophetic thing lightly, because that is to treat Him lightly. God Himself suffers in esteem.