And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
Many use this verse as a weapon against the prophet, telling him to shut up and preach the simple gospel or that he must relate every prophecy he receives to the simplicity of the gospel message. That was not the intent of this statement, however. Clearly, the issue here is that an angel, a heavenly personage, who was carrying a prophetic message, refused the worship that John offered, who up until that time was a simple gospel worker because, in essence, we are all one in Christ and all of us work on a level playing field, if we are servants of Jesus Christ. We are united in our worship and our service unto the King of Kings, so whatever He may have called you to do, get about the business of doing it, without concerning yourself with just who is greater than whom. God will sort out this business of throne sitting along side of Him in His kingdom.
John: the gospel worker, was ready and willing to worship the angel: the prophetic messenger. He was quickly rebuked and put right, but quite often today, we see another action working itself out in church life, as the gospel workers encounter the prophetic messenger. No, they do not worship such a messenger. Quite to the contrary, they fight against them, speak against them with lies and innuendos and attempt to drive them out of their churches and their assemblies. The message of Jesus will be the same: remember whom you are serving! Remember why you are working in the first place. Who will thrive if you fight and devour one another.
Growing up in the Midwest of the United States, I had no knowledge of present day apostles and prophets or that any such person might really be sent forth from God today. This was not considered to be something that one had to be mindful of in my circles. Then, prophets entered the news in a negative light, as these were almost always winding up in some sort of destructive, Jonestown like cataclysm that seemed to clearly mark them as false. Then, God called me! I had no one to disciple me; no one to mentor me; no one to train me in this prophetic calling except the Holy Spirit. Train me, He did and His continual focus was that I was not supposed to limit myself by imposing any restrictive mindset upon my service unto the King. I was called as a prophet, yes, but He had every right to send me whenever He pleased as an apostle, or cause me to preach Jesus as an evangelist. He thought it proper to have me pastor at times and I was always required to study, study, and study more so that I might be ready to teach at any time it pleased Him. That is what I was shown it was really all about: pleasing Him.
I have often compared my job to that of a carburetor. The carburetor does not repeat, over and over again to be heard from under the hood: "I'm a carburetor, I'm a carburetor". No, it simply performs the task for which it was designed. The invisible Holy Spirit, who lives in me, has designed me for a great number of tasks, far more adaptably than the lowly carburetor. So it is with any of you who have been apprehended by the King and drafted into His service. He sends us forth, filled with His Spirit and He molds us into just what He needs to fashion out as a Christian Soldier on the particular spiritual battlefield where He wishes to deploy us. We ought not limit ourselves, nor ought we allow any man to limit us by virtue of a title.
My job in this particular tour of duty is to simplify this whole matter of Christian service: to boil it down to the non churchy elements that Jesus wants to drive home to my readers. Jesus has called YOU! He wants to send YOU! You are unique: fearfully and wonderfully made. He already sent forth a Peter and a Paul. Now, He wants to fashion and fit you out and send YOU forth. You are not a copy of a bible character. He alone knows just what you will bring forth and bear for Him if you obey and bear much fruit. Do not allow men to force you into any mold against His will.
I must carry out a number of duties in my time as a soldier for Christ. These orders are specific to me and may or may not match your orders in every respect, as your Commander will have final say about all of that if you are willing to follow Him and Him alone. Please consider these seven points:
1) I must tell people about what I know about Jesus: who He is, what He is like, what He likes, what He hates and such as that. Jesus is my savior. He is God and He is Jehovah in the flesh. He especially hates covetousness and greed among those who style themselves as His servants. They place people under strong compulsion, manipulate and pressure them skillfully and then call it giving. He wants you all to know that He sees. He marks those who manipulate His words in order to gain personal riches or status. You have not fooled Him: there will be a day of reckoning for you.
2) I must tell people how I came to learn what I know about Christ. In short, I learned what I know through the study of the written word, fasting and prayer at the leading of His spirit and through passionate worship that includes singing, accompanied by any musical instrument and player thereof who is willing to employ his or her talents to worship God in Spirit and in truth, without any hypocrisy or show. Jesus was a hymn singer (Matt 26:30) when He walked on the Earth. So you think you can worship God without singing? Do you really think you will come to possess all the Spiritual gifts God has for you without fasting? Jesus fasted...fasted as led by the Spirit. He did not starve himself. Anyone who believes he can draw close to God without praying is playing. Learn from men with great care and fear. This in an hour of great apostasy. It is difficult to learn truth and separate it from error in such an hour, but His Spirit will help you.
3) I must go where He sends me; where His spirit leads; where I see Him using me in a certain way in a vision or where I suddenly find myself with an open door to carry out my/His ministry in the place where my hand has found work for Him to do. I must carry out His ministry when I go to these places, doing whatever He leads to either communicate His message or to display His power for a witness unto the truth of His message. Men will either accept or reject: it has always been thus. The default position is that the word needs to be confirmed by acts of power. Beware learning from any man where signs never accompany or confirm the message. There are counterfeit signs, however. Learn to test everything.
4) I must issue any warning to His servants or to the Earth at large that He has made me privy to, so that I avoid getting any of their blood on my hands. This principle is in place for the Prophet, the prophet and the gospel worker. God has spoken through a donkey to deliver a word of warning: He just might use you!
5) I must try to convince the occupants of this post Christian world that we all need Jesus in our lives. We need Him more desperately now than we ever have before. We all have to go deeper into His Spirit now so that we do not lose hope. Very soon, many people will be desperate to find Him in the hour of great judgement and He will hide himself, so we need to look for Him now. We need to come to Him now. I need the Spirit to give me new and novel ideas for how to reach people where they are. People are very much locked away now into mindsets that bind them like concrete. People are gathered into communication camps. We must have Holy Spirit inspired imagination to reach even the few of the elect that remain to be gathered in among the multitudes.
6) I must continue to work! The scripture says to "pray and not faint". Almost all of us faint. We get discouraged. Paul told Timothy to "stir up the gift that is in you through the laying on of my hands". We get depressed. We need to shake this off, stir ourselves up and begin to work once again, repenting of our fainting, our lethargy, our discouragement and our prayerlessness. Isaiah was told by the Lord that he, as a prophet, must continue to warn "until the Earth is without inhabitant". How many of us have been faithful to do that? Repent, turn around, get up and get back to work. We must keep working while we still can, no matter how meager the results appear to be. Appearances can be deceiving.
7) I must constantly remind myself of a couple of things that my Grandfather George Stephens received from God about the bible and wrote it in his bible about ninety years ago, not knowing that I would find them there, many years later:
"This book will keep you from sin. Sin will keep you from this book."
I found this little note, slipped between the pages of this same bible:
"If we flow along with the crowd, we will end up in despair. If we want any thing bad enough, we will find a way to achieve it. We have to climb above the masses-regardless of criticism. Those who go with the crowd just flow along and put out no special effort on their own. We have to make our own decisions. If we are to know our Savior, we have to climb above the masses on our own initiative. Our kin or friends cannot save us. Save me oh God from being lost in the crowd!"
I am finding that these words are speaking more to me now than ever before. My wife and I have had to come out of all the churches at this time. We hold meetings in our home with Jesus: just the two of us and Jesus.
Help us Jesus to always prefer You over any crowd: even a crowd that says it is a Christian crowd, but that slams the door on You when you come to knock and seek entrance. I must always be where you are Jesus. Help me to remember that!
Stephen L. Bening
HUNDREDS OF CONFIRMING PROPHETIC VOICES
(For example: Position your mouse cursor over California on the map, and click to see a page of California Earthquake Prophecies)
"Man shall not live by bread alone, but by EVERY WORD that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" Matt 4:4
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