There seems to be a distinct difference between the manifestation gifts (1 Corinthians), the redemptive gifts (Romans 12- prophet, servant, teacher, exhorter, giver, ruler, & mercy), and the ministry gifts in which we walk out our other gifts (Ephesians 4). The redemptive gifts are possibly received at conception, rather than salvation. (It is one of God’s mysteries as to when we truly receive a redemptive gift. The Bible does not make clear the exact timing. See Jeremiah 1:5 for indication of initial gifting. The gifts tend to shape our personality and the way we may then receive one or more of the manifestation gifts. A redemptive gift is the grace of God woven into who we are; that by His Spirit we are made right with God and able to honour Him with whom He has made us to be. There are certain common behavioural characteristics that are used to help determine the redemptive gifts (Primary and Secondary) of an individual. Although certain traits such as compassion may come easily for some gifts, we are cautioned not to use our gift as an excuse for not growing.
We are all called to walk out the fruit of the Spirit whether it comes naturally or not. The redemptive gift teaching developed a connection with the many lists of 7’s in the Bible (7 things Christ said on the cross, 7 days of creation, and 7 pieces of furniture in the tabernacle). Also, the redemptive gifts also fit cities/churches/states/institutions. The state of Minnesota is redemptive gift of giver (lakes/birthing). USA as a whole is prophet (creativity/design/comes first in culture). The cities of Princeton/Zimmerman/Elk River, I believe are Teacher/Servant/Giver.
Any business or church also has a main redemptive gift. Once this is clear, the destiny will be made much more clear. Here is a Diagram of the Three Types of Gifts: 1: Prophet Behavioural Characteristics: -Sees things in black & white -Simplistic worldview – must make sense of everything -Able to assess situations quickly and discern whether good or bad -Takes initiative, likes new things -Goes against the status quo -Does not maintain well running organization – will quit, improve it, or change it -Always has an opinion and is willing to express it Judges others compulsively -Bold, knows no fear – Not intimidated by the unknown -Extraordinarily generous – impulsive/unwise -Shifts gears quickly – large range of emotion -Visionary – need to know where they are going – Fiercely competitive – Gives full disclosure – exposes weakness, compulsion for honesty & integrity – Very hard on self – Out of sight out of mind – Passion for excellence Principle: Design Design is the art of weaving principles together in order to produce change. Principle can be defined as a universal non-optional cause and effect relationship.
Man to Matter Man to Man (Most Overlooked and Weakest Area Human Relationships) Man to the Spirit Realm ——————————————————- 2: Servant Behavioural Characteristics: – Sees needs and meets them – often external or environmental needs – Very few enemies – considered to be a safe person – Inability to accept excellence in work, to affirm self, or receive affirmation from others – Extends honour to others – Sees potential/best in others – Has a fierce anger that seldom occurs but usually revolves around loyalty – Save stuff though not always organized about it If immature can become an enabler – mature servant learns to empower – Attracts dishonour, especially in home, and usually does not resist – Very competitive in games or sports – May tend to make excuses for children – Purity of motives – like no other gift; never counting up what’s owed – Integrity/honesty/simplicity – Joyful – Obedience comes easily – Tends toward victimization/exploitation by others – Difficulty saying no – has a strong desire to please others Principle: Authority God gives more spiritual authority to Servants than other gifts because they don’t want it they are not infected with the empire-building germ like the other gifts – The servant’s prayers for leaders carry more weight than other gifts – Highest level of authority over the Death Spirit in Spiritual warfare (in a premature demonic attack) because God trusts the Servant to do only what He has asked them to do – Authority over land (restoration of ecology) Birthright/Blessing: The servant walks in holiness in their own life. They are willing to embrace a high calling of holiness and bring a sense of purity and cleanliness.
When the servant hears truth spoken it resonates deeply. The servant has the tenacity to reach out to the wounded and hurting (not limited to, but especially in family situations). The servant is able to be the ultimate life-giver, finding fulfillment in being a life-giver to allow others to do their work; they provide cleansing and authority to others. There is a deep desire to empower others to achieve their best. Joseph, Jesus’ father was an example of absolute obedience. He did what God asked of him regarding Mary and Jesus every time. God used him to protect them. Joseph had life giving obedience and was highly trusted. ___________________________________________________________ 3: Teacher Behavioural Characteristics: -Need to validate truth – Doesn’t receive or reject new ideas or people right away – Safe person emotionally – can listen to brokenness and sin and not be rejecting – Makes new decisions slowly – Deep family loyalty – Tend to be poor at returning borrowed items – Difficult time returning phone calls – Typically late – Difficulty handling money -Usually resists using human illustrations – Unwillingness to begin a process until they can see the end of the process – Tends to be a fearful person Great sense of humor – Usually the last to speak in a group – Tend not to overreact or jump the gun – A very patient person, slow tempered – Likes to save things Principle: Responsibility The teacher is to walk in responsibility in every area of their life. Their highest responsibility is to worship God. They must make worship a lifestyle, that they would anticipate and enjoy being with God. If the teacher is carnal they will be selectively responsible and unwilling to impose responsibility on others. The teacher would rather work hard at persuading people to change rather than confront.
Birth right/Blessing: Intimacy The teacher must know who they are as they incrementally walk out God’s will and then reveal the manifest presence of God to the rest of the body of Christ. The Lord wants to be present in the life of the teacher having them experience and celebrate Him. ———————————————————— 4: Exhorter Behavioural Characteristics: – Party looking for a place to happen – Instant rapport with strangers – Highly relational – Has ability to understand and relate well to others – Able to move easily from small talk to sharing the gospel Able to maintain relationship although may solidly disagree with other party – Can have loud argument without alienation of other person – Master communicator – Flexible – able to abandon a plan easily – Visionary – Seeks the approval of others – Dramatic and often melodramatic – Natural leader – High energy person – Obsessive compulsive verbal expressive – Loves change – Governs by persuasion rather than principle Principle: Sowing & Reaping The exhorter must embrace pain and suffering. The most difficult area for the exhorter is to suffer rejection. They must confront sin and be willing to face rejection from within the community.
They must incarnate truth and earned authority through pain and suffering. The exhorter is able to be a world changer for Christ when they embrace the principle. Birth right/Blessing: Know God personally and experientially (Gideon), take time away from people to know God and have His authority. The body of Christ is dependent upon the exhorter becoming all God created them to be; God has called the exhorter to be a world changer! _________________________________________________________ 5: Giver Behavioural Characteristics: – Most diverse/adaptable/flexible of all gifts – Very independent Designed not to be needy – does not look to others for help – Can look at a problem and find own solution – Can’t be hustled – must accrue money before can give – Able to relate to wide range of people – Sensitive to manipulation of other’s toward spouse or family – Private in own life – protective of reputation of self, spouse, and family – Delegates spiritual warfare – Non-confrontational by nature – wait for opportunity to get best out of situation, won’t knock down hurdles – Immense heart for evangelism but does everything just short of sharing the gospel overtly – Nurturer to family – facilitate family environment Intuitive – Concerned about safety, cautious – Is without shame – does not have shameful view of self – Can be very impulsive – Insightful – Not a big risk-taker – Good listener Principle: Stewardship God doesn’t want 10% of the giver’s finance/assets – not of the abundance or extra that they have; God wants all of it to establish relationship and to accrue generational blessing to pass on to others. Money is not the issue; it’s about their relationship with God. Example in Job 31:16: Job has an incredible relationship with God, is a steward of his money and assets.
He walked in high justice, holiness and ethical behaviour in all that he did. Birth right/Blessing: The blessing for the giver is a generational anointing: The giver has the authority to release a generational blessing into their family line and community and be a life-giver through blessing (not just money). The giver is to have a generational worldview– think long term. Abraham received authority from God and passed it on. He changed the world and was considered a friend of God. Blessings come in the context of being dependent and in relationship with God. ___________________________________________________________ 6: Ruler Behavioural Characteristics: – Great under pressure- thrive with it, and expects others to be effective under it as well – Empire builders – designed to look at things and want to make them bigger – Own their problems and do not have a welfare mentality – Skilled at time management – Not into details – Immature ruler may allow for casual ethics where the end may justify the means – Big on loyalty – more important than competence of co-workers – Don’t like to be micro-managed Not in to blame – will figure out how to fix a problem and move on – Implementer – Take vision, break it down into pieces, and implement it – Nearly impossible to get ruler to partner with others unless loyalty is built – Great at using imperfect people – draws the best out of people – Tendency to be task oriented and omit nurture – Expert in dealing with people and projects – Will not choose to place self on a team unless they are wanted/have the loyalty of others – Innate ability to measure character – Able to stand alone on an issue of principle or integrity Principle: Freedom
The ruler is to go from bondage to obedience to freedom. The difference between the three is the amount of willpower. Rulers have the tendency to be focused on task and do what’s required and not walk in freedom. They must walk in spiritual freedom. Like the giver, they are good at making things happen in the natural but God wants dependence upon Him. The ruler is to be first of all righteous. Birth right/Blessing: Generational freedom from sin- central piece of blessing the ruler possesses a high level of spiritual authority and is called to earn authority in the heavens and release it to the generations.
There is an immense authority given to the ruler: How does the ruler accrue spiritual authority to pass it on? By honouring God and going beyond obedience. This is evidenced in David, a man after God’s own heart. The ruler is to release generational blessings into the world and spiritual realm (must learn to not only do the tasks but honour the Lord). Noah was an example of releasing blessing. The ruler must seek God to find out what He has called them to do and then honour Him in walking it out. No one has the spiritual dominion that the ruler has. _____________________________________________________________ 7: Mercy
Behavioural Characteristics: – No or few enemies – finds common ground with just about everyone – Safe place for wounded people – easily confided in – Tend to be non-judgmental – Able to pick out people who are troubled and see through facades – Has only 1 or 2 close intimate friends but many acquaintances – Craves intimacy and needs physical touch – this need can often lead to sexual impurity – Slow in making life transitions because it takes a while to disengage emotionally – Connects with the heart of God – difficulty explaining why feel God is directing in a certain way – Very intuitive when it comes to following God’s lead Dislikes confrontation – natural tendency is to nurture and protect people from harm – If immature can be indecisive, not wanting to step on toes – Tendency to be exploited and become a victim because unwilling to confront even a predator – Fierce anger but usually only surfaces around loyalty – known to take up offense for another -Drawn into spiritual warfare when another who they care for is being spiritually attacked. – Strong predisposition to worship – moves more easily into presence of God than the other gifts – Loves Beauty – Stubborn in the nicest sort of way
Principal: Fulfilment By design the Mercy is able to engage spirit to Spirit with God. They are able to go there more easily more often. This is the highest fulfilment for the mercy. Birth right/Blessing: The mercy must find fulfilment in God and impart that blessing to others. As the Mercy is sanctified they sanctify their environment (time, people, and place) and are able to transform the sinful into the holy. New Full Notes Prophet Three Kinds of Prophets: Office of prophet in Eph. 4 as a nurturing position. Anyone who has the manifestation gift of prophesying can be in that office.
They should not be the only person in a church prophesying but they should be nurturing the prophets coming up, who definitely need that. So there is the office of, manifestation gift of, and then redemptive gift of. The Redemptive Gift doesn’t necessarily prophesy at all. John the Baptist is an example of this in scripture. His only prophecy was that Messiah was coming which had been being said for 2000 years. Yet all through his ministry he demonstrated the redemptive gift of prophet. So any of the 7 can prophesy and prophet doesn’t necessarily prophesy at all.
Behavioural Characteristics “I can’t justify all of these characteristics from scripture, a lot of this is based on 20 years of experience of working with individuals and seeing their patterns. No one gift has a monopoly on these characteristics and so because a person has 2 or 3 of them does not indicate that they have this gift. Rather, when someone has 15-18 of the characteristics we know we have established the behaviour to tell a duck from a horse. ”—Arthur Burk · See things in black and white. There is right and wrong, good and bad. It’s a very simplistic world view.
They can assess a situation in about 3 seconds and tell you whether it’s good or bad. · They tend to take initiative and enjoy things that are new. If someone else is not making something new around them they will. The prophet does a terrible job of maintaining something that is running well. If you put a prophet in an organizational or administrative position with a program that is running well, he will do one of four things. He will improve it, change it, enlarge it or quit. To maintain status quo absolutely totally cuts against the core, the grain, the spiritual DNA of how God made a prophet.
They do not maintain, they make new. You bring a prophet into a situation where there is chaos, they can be quite cheerful for a while as they restore some order, establish a proper framework, but as soon as the thing is fixed they want out. · The prophet tends to be a verbal expressive. Some people have described the prophet and exhorter both as obsessive, compulsive verbal expressive. Peter, for example, was usually the first one to speak in a group situation. A prophet processes very quickly and has an opinion on everything all the time and is quite willing to share it. The prophet takes the initiative to judge others He not only knows what’s right and wrong but, just by default, goes through the grocery store and evaluates whether the groceries are in the right place, whether they have the right lighting, whether the checker is doing a good job. There is this compulsion to pass judgment on anything and everything, and hopefully a more mature prophet keeps his mouth shut most of the time but through his mind he is saying “right, wrong, not good, should be better, change this. ” The evaluation is always there. · The prophet knows no fear unless he’s been seriously wounded.
There is a basic boldness in dealing with others and with situations. Ex: Arthur did home repair in the early years and would tell people he could do a given job whether he knew how or not. He just had the confidence he could figure it out. They are not intimidated by the unknown. · Another core-value deep in the DNA of the prophet is an inability to tolerate bondage. They do not like to be locked up, trapped down, set in a closed situation. Perhaps one of the classic examples of this in American history is Geronimo. He was prophet by redemptive gift, and time and again was captured and put in prison.
He preferred to be on the run; he’d rather be on horseback with no place of peace, running from old Mexico to new and back, with all the troops pursuing him, than to be locked up. The whole concept of being in bondage is anathema to the prophet. · The prophet is extraordinarily generous. Many prophets confuse themselves with givers at first. They give far more than any other of the gifts. Many times the prophet out-gives the giver. The difference is that the prophet many times gives impulsively and unwisely. The prophet brings his “no fear” attitude alongside his giving and will give his last dollar without any hesitation.
He’ll commit to the major faith challenge without any concern but sometimes his impulsiveness causes him to give unwisely or to someone who uses it inappropriately. It is amazing to watch how fast the prophet can go from sacrificial giving, to someone who uses it unwisely, to judging them for squandering the Lord’s money. · The prophet shifts gears very quickly. In the Burk household it was called changing lanes without signalling, and many times it is like changing whole freeways without using the interchange. They are here, then there, this idea and then that idea. · There is a need to have vision, a need to have a reason.
Joel Aldridge gave an elegant illustration of prophets. He groups people into three groups: visionaries, implementers and maintainers. He said if you took a bunch of each and put them on a ship that was loaded with everything necessary for the good life and went out to sea, within a matter of two or three days each one of the visionaries (prophets) would one at a time quietly seek out the captain. They’d ask him where they were going and if the captain said “what is it that you need, we have everything on the ship you need for pleasure”? The visionary would say “no, it’s not that I need anything, I just want to know where we’re going. “We’re going no place in particular but the ship has everything you need for enjoyment. ” That doesn’t compute with the visionary, and one after another the visionaries would go to the rear of the ship and jump overboard, because the prophet cannot not go somewhere. He cannot be busy proceeding and not know where they are proceeding to and why. There is a need to have vision, a need to have a reason even if it is a bad reason. The need to have a deadline, a point, an objective is non-negotiable with the prophet. Take away the reason to live and the destruction to the prophet is immense.
Where there is hopelessness, where there is bondage, where there is no future and the prophet feels trapped, it destroys his soul and the prophet can literally will himself to death where there has been that degree of hopelessness. · The prophet tends to be fiercely competitive with emphasis on fiercely. The only way they know how to play a game is cutthroat. Winning is everything for them. · The prophet also demonstrates his gift in the area of full disclosure. When he is selling a used car, unless he is really carnal, it is impossible for him to cover up the defects.
He rather discloses them, telling every little defect, doing all he can to un-sell the car after it is sold because of that compulsion for honesty and integrity. · The prophet is very, very hard on himself. He is legendary for beating up others for their sins but very few understand how hard he is on himself. When a prophet has majorly sinned, like when Peter denied Christ, it is really hard for him to forgive himself, and to restore him to ministry and dignity, because they are far fiercer in their own denunciation than they are in reproving other peoples’ sin. · It is important for the prophet to make sense out of everything.
This becomes a trap for many prophets, especially in a theological situation where they have to look at problems and somehow restore logic to the situation. They become the ultimate spin doctors in their own world. Some of the conclusions they reach in their desperate attempt to bring reason to an unreasonable situation can get them in trouble. It is a mark of maturity when he can embrace the sovereignty of God, embrace a segment of his life that simply, absolutely doesn’t make sense and can conclude “I just have to let God be God. ” That is a tough step but a major one and a maturing one for a prophet. A prophet tends to hold truth much more tightly than relationships This is especially true in family relationships. You watch a prophet who works in a community for 5 years, has all kinds of relationships, is admired, is appreciated, when he moves to a new community the tendency will be to dig in deeply, to work whole heartedly in the new place and very quickly the relationships in the old community fade away. This is especially true of family. It’s not that the prophet is overtly rejecting his family, although the tendency to be judgmental can lead to a lot of family fragmentation, it’s just an “out of sight out of mind” thing.
There is the current world where they live, with two toes in the day and the rest of them in tomorrow, and worrying about yesterday’s relationships just isn’t part of the prophets DNA most of the time. · The prophet has a passion for excellence in himself and in everyone else. · The prophet has probably the largest range of emotions of any gift. The human voice can do an octave or two; the trumpet 12, the piano has 88. The prophet is going to have the deepest compassion, the most mercy, and the fiercest judgmental spirit all in the same person.
The prophet is going to have the deepest depression, the most profound hopelessness, and at the same time the capacity to celebrate God with exuberance, with an extravagance that no other gift can match. They run the entire gamut. One of the marks of a wounded prophet is one who has pulled in his emotions and is only playing on 10 notes or so because he is so afraid of the depression he has fallen into in the past. So in order to not fall into the depression, he has to pull in and also not experience the joys. This is sad because God has designed the prophet to be intense, passionate, and to be extreme in most emotional settings.
Sometimes even to the grief of those around them. So these are the behavioural characteristics. Most prophets can be identified by running through these as questions. Unless they are severely wounded, 80-90% of these will apply to the average prophet. Prophets in Scripture Miriam, Naomi Remember how overt Naomi was in beating herself up when she came back from Moab, saying “don’t call me Naomi, call me Mera because the Lord has dealt bitterly with me. ” It’s not enough for the Lord to spank her; she has to publicly spank herself in front of everybody. They have full disclosure all the way.
Ezekiel, Peter, Jonathan and Caleb. Lists of Sevens The Lists of Sevens in scripture parallel the redemptive gifts. There are about 100 lists of seven to be found including the 7 days of Creation, the 7 compound names of Jehovah, 7 articles in the tabernacle, seven miracles of Jesus in John, the 7 last words of Christ on the cross, the 7 letters to the churches in Revelations… The first thing in each list matches the first redemptive gift. So, first day of creation would give insight into prophet, the second day to servant, and so forth. Day 1—Light Of the 7? in scripture, Genesis 1 is one of the richest. On the first day God created light. It is interesting to note that God did not create the sun, moon and stars until the fourth day. So what did He create on the first day? You need a little science to follow this. Every kind of light, infra-red, ultra-violet, x-rays, gamma-rays, all these different spectrums of light are an electromagnetic field flowing across time. In order to have any sort of light you have to have matter, space, you have to have time and you have to have the laws of science to govern them. So God created all these on the first day.
The first thing He created was time, then He created space, then He created the natural laws, then He created the matter that operates within those natural laws. Every electron, every atom has time and space precisely governing it, the speed with which the electrons flow around the nucleus, the distance away from the nucleus, all of those things are governed by time and space. Natural Law In addition to the laws of science, on the first day God created all of natural law. We can’t prove it from this passage, however, the laws of science are universal, non-optional, cause and effect relationship.
Meaning that these natural laws operate completely outside of moral law and outside of God’s intervention. If you take a pin and let go, it will drop to the ground because of the law of gravity. God did not reach down from heaven and slam the pin to the ground, rather the natural consequence, the cause and effect relationship came into play. We understand the accuracy of the laws of science. They are universal; they work the same in Brazil as in America. They are not optional, they apply the same whether we understand them or not, whether we want them to or not.
Very simply, someway, somehow, we are violating natural law in terms of Alzheimer’s. We do not know which law we are violating, if we did, supposedly we would stop violating it. Even though we are ignorant, even though we do not want to violate the law, it is non-optional. The fact that we are, is causing disease in our minds. There is a natural consequence to breaking these laws without God’s intervention. It has nothing to do with His moral judgment. There is a 2nd and 3rd level to natural law. The 1st level is the laws of science, the relationship between man and matter. The 2nd is the relationship between man and man.
God has established 5 authority structures in scripture and they are, in order: the relationship in marriage, parenting, civil government, religious government, and in business. Again, you have to hold separately moral law, which has eternal consequences, and natural law which has temporal consequences without God’s intervention. Take two people who are married and devout believers. They love the Lord, they’re saved and serving Him. But if they, out of ignorance, or willfulness, violate most of God’s natural laws for marriage, they will have a horrible marriage no matter how saved they are.
On the flip side, you can have a couple people who are unsaved, going to hell, but they accidentally obey most of God’s natural law for marriage. They can have a wonderful marriage in time because they reap the natural consequences of God’s law and yet they die and go to hell for breaking moral law. Similarly, an unsaved person can have a great business if he accidentally obeys God’s laws for business. There are principles that are outside of moral law, that are natural cause and effect relationship that apply universally to Christians and non-Christians.
There is a 3rd level of natural law, that between man and the spirit realm. Our relationship with the demonic is governed by laws as well as our relationship with God. These laws are universal, non-optional, cause and effect relationship. If you are ignorant of those laws and accidentally violate them they can give demons access to your life whether you want it or not. Also, there are laws that deal with our relationship with God, how to become more intimate with God. If you violate those you reap the consequences. On the 1st day God created all 3 levels of natural law. There re things we can do in our human relationships to work more smoothly together, there are things we can do in our spiritual relationship to come into greater intimacy with God when we understand natural law. This, very simply, is the playing field of the prophet. Birthright The prophet, if you will, is the research and development scientist in the Body of Christ. The R & D scientist does not invent any new principles. The laws of science are fixed. He may discover one or two new ones but he doesn’t invent any. He does not invent any new elements. God has already determined the limit of the elements.
He may discover one or two new ones but basically he is taking the unchangeable things of the laws of science, that first level, and he is continually reassembling them in different ways. The infinite number of new products we have being birthed in the world today by the R & D engineers are a result of new combinations of the principles and resources of natural law. So the prophet is not called to create new absolutes, because the absolutes are finite, created by God alone. But the prophet is called upon to see new applications, new ways to implement those principles in new situations.
One of the heroic moments of the church and one of the great moments for prophets was Acts 15. There is no other more pivotal event in the history of the church. The issue was whether Gentiles had to become Jews. The whole church was stirred up over it. There was deep passion, and profound commitment to both sides, so they brought together everyone to Jerusalem. The apostles were there, very credentialed people, those with the manifestation gift of prophesy. In that setting, with one of the most critical theological issues the church has faced, God was silent. There was no prophetic word at all.
God left it in the hands of those with redemptive gift of prophet, specifically James the brother of Christ who was elder at the church in Jerusalem, to reason from principle and to come to a conclusion. They listened to all the evidence; they listened to this side and that, all the evidence and all the glory stories. When James got up and issued a verdict he reasoned from principle. He said here’s this verse from the Old Testament, here’s this principle we’re going to extract from the verse. We take this principle and we apply it to this new situation and this is how we’re going to walk.
That is the birthright to the redemptive gift of prophet. To be able to look at a new environmental situation, go to the word of God, take a story from there, boil it down to its principles, and bring that principle back out to a new application. The prophet does not invent new absolutes ever. That is heresy; that is iniquity. The prophet discovers the principles of natural law and brings them out and applies them. This enables us to understand several of the behavioral characteristics of the prophet. The reason the prophet does not like to do maintenance is because there is no application of principles.
Once something is up and running, it’s up and running, there’s closure. But as long as there are problems, as long as there are opportunities, as long as there is a blank piece of paper to write something new, the prophet can assemble principles. The prophet gets no joy out of standing, watching principles that are already assembled work. The prophet does not celebrate more than about 10 minutes, “Okay, it worked, that’s good, that’s fun, next. ” The prophet needs an environment, needs either a problem or blank piece of paper to apply principles, to weave together the resources, to make something from nothing based upon principles.
You also understand the boldness and the faith of the prophet. The prophet understands the power of truth. The prophet understands that truth is inexorable (relentless, not persuaded by request or entreaty). The prophet is willing to bet on these universal, non-optional principles. When you are working with people in the area of faith, you basically have to divvy out the prophet and the other six. Because to the other six gifts, faith is based primarily on relationship. Where they have a strong relationship with God, where they’ve experienced the intervening hand of God in relationship, they have the faith to move forward.
The prophet is the only one whose faith is based on the principles and not on relationship. The blind faith that truth is inexorable, that these things are going to work, is the hallmark of the prophet. Meaning of the word prophet The Greek word for prophet is a combination of two things that mean “prior” and “to make known,” in other words to make something known before it happens, the idea of foresight of seeing it beforehand and making it known. Understand that this Greek word can be used in two separate ways. For the manifestation gift of prophesying, God sovereignty makes known to the individual what is going to happen in the future.
That is the kind of usage we are accustomed to for the word prophet. But the redemptive gift of prophet does the same thing in a different way. Using principles, he can know in advance what will happen. Look at the laws of science, we can take them and extrapolate where Mars is going to be in a couple of years, so we can successfully put some litter up there. That is extrapolation from principle, we know in advance what is going to happen because the laws of science are inexorable and we can extrapolate into the present.
So the same word has two different applications. The redemptive gift of prophet operates in the arena of principles and extends the truth into the future. Whereas the manifestation gift of prophet is able to hear from God directly and just know things that will happen in the future. A good redemptive gift of prophet is someone who can build, not just one who can criticize. Any carnal, immature prophet can run around and say “this is broken, and that’s wrong, and this you shouldn’t do” and so on. That is very damaging to the church and very low level.
A good prophet is somebody who can embrace the problem and apply the principles in such a way as to effectively repair the problem. First fruits There is one other observation regarding the prophet from the 1st day of creation. It is very impressive how important the concept of the principle of first fruit is to God. The very first thing God created was time. Where you create space you have to have time. He created space, then time, then natural law and then matter. While all of us need to give God the first fruits of our time, it seems to be much more critical for the prophet.
Whatever the configuration, whether the first fruits of the day or the week, or the month or the year, or the first fruits of a new project, God seems to require the prophet to sanctify the first fruits of time otherwise the rest will be devoured. This is in the arena of the relationship between God and man, that 3rd level of natural law. As we recognize that God has a claim on time and dedicate the first fruits of time, the rest is sanctified in a great way Jehovah Jireh The next illustration is from the 7 compound names of Jehovah that parallel he gifts. Jehovah Jireh, the Lord who provides is the first. This was given in the context of God commanding Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. This made perfect sense to Abraham in the context of the Gentile nations he was living in. Understand that God was still developing, still unfolding the truth of who He was and how He wanted to relate to man. The surrounding Gentile nations sacrificed their firstborn son as the highest form of sacrifice, the greatest appeasement, the greatest bribe to give to a god. So the instructions came, sacrifice your son.
He knew it was his only son and that his son was over 13 years old. He took his son to sacrifice him and God stopped him and said no, don’t do this. There was a ram caught in the bush by the horn so Abraham took that ram, sacrificed it, and said “the Lord will provide. ” The lesson is very simple here—the Lord will provide the payment necessary for sin. This is all about holiness, all about a righteous God; it is all about satisfying the demands of God. The prophet is so driven to excel that he can drift into the heresy of trying to buy God’s favor.
Not that they would ever say that, but there is the inadvertent belief in them that if they just excel enough, if they just do this, that, and the other, it will be enough for God. The prophet has to personally come to grips with the fact that God does not need anything from him. God doesn’t need his excellence or self-sacrifice. God has provided everything that is necessary. He is merely allowing the prophet to draw honor and glory to God by the way he works out the process. This works similarly in dealing with the sin of people.
The prophet is one who sees the evilness of sin and also sees the restorative power of God. The prophet has a violent objection to cheap grace. It is the carnal prophet who is first in line to stone the sinner, but even the mature prophet can see the deep damage done to the Body of Christ when sin is dealt with too lightly. Dr. White was one of the foremost Presbyterian preachers during the 1800? s. He was a prophet by redemptive gift, a mighty man of God. His famous book is Lord Teach Us to Pray.
A deacon in his church said “no man had so often dashed him to the ground with his sermons, but no man has so quickly and so often picked me up again and showed me the water in the cleft of the rock to restore my soul. ” That is the full range of the prophet. The prophet is the quickest to say “this is wrong, this is very, very wrong. ” But the mature prophet must be someone who wisely handles the principles, who knows how to rebuild a broken life. That is the masterpiece of the prophet. Anybody can be a finger pointer, prophet or non-prophet. But it is the prophet that God commissions to know the principles that will rebuild.
To know, not just the evilness of sin, but to know the fullness of God’s grace to be able to restore. Jehovah Jireh is the Lord who will provide everything necessary to cover the iniquity, everything necessary to restore and release once again. That is the prophet at his best, Jehovah Jireh, providing the penalty and restoration. The prophet is one that is drawn to brokenness. You usually find the prophet working on the two extremes. The prophet finds very little use for the Grand National average that fills the pews, but he spends his time with the leadership and those who are broken that want to be restored.
It doesn’t matter how badly they’re broken, it doesn’t matter what their brokenness is, it doesn’t matter how hopeless they are in themselves. There is something that rises up within the prophet. There is holy rage of fierce anger that the devil would dare to destroy a work of God, a human being, a city, or a community, that God has created. There is a passion and desire to bring the principles to apply, to restore, to rebuild, to release into the fullness of the birthright. That is the heartbeat of the prophet in his maturity. The Brazen Altar
The first thing you come to in the outer courtyard is the brazen altar, that’s where it all has to begin. Two things happen there. One is a person would bring a sacrifice for his sin. Again we see this motif of dealing with sin in a head-on way. The sinner comes to the priest, offers the sacrifices, the sin offering, the guilt offering and the burnt offering. But we overlook the fact that it is at that brazen altar that the prophet also brought his thank offering, his fellowship offering, his praise offering. Again we see the prophet’s passion for celebration.
The prophet is first in line with the glory stories, the prophet is the one that is quickest to celebrate and celebrate the most extravagantly the things that God has done. Think again of the piano, that full range of emotions, not just the sinfulness of sin but celebrating, in advance before it’s even done, celebrating the restorative work of God. It is the prophet who can look at that broken individual, look at that individual who no longer has hope, no longer has dignity, and to see in him the fingerprints of Almighty God.
He can see the call of God on his life and speak life and restoration into him. He can come along side him, partner with him. For the prophet is celebrating years before the person gets to the reality of who they are and who they can become once again when the liberating principles are applied to remove him from his bondage. So the brazen altar celebrates both aspects, the awfulness of sin and the gloriousness of the restoration that God is able to do, and is willing to do, and desires to do through the prophet. Changing Water to Wine Another one of the 7? is the 7 miracles of Christ in the gospel of John. The first is the changing of water to wine. The prophet very much enjoys demonstrating the power of God, using the power of God over nature to be able to prove to somebody that their God exists. The prophet gravitates to the power encounter. The prophet, with his lack of fear and his great faith, is willing and able and desirous to celebrate the power of God over nature and in nature for restorative purposes. Letter to Ephesus In Rev. 2:1 we see a classic description of the inner workings of the redemptive gift of prophet. These are the words of him, who holds the seven stars in his hands and walks among the golden lamp stands. I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. ” Those are characteristics of the prophet—hard work. It is difficult to find a lazy prophet, most are doing more than they should. There’s a desire to invest sweat equity into these principles they believe in. “I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men and that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not and have found them false. One of the characteristics of the prophet is that they can walk into a room full of strangers and it takes them about 60 seconds to spot the rebels in the crowd. They have an intuitive reaction to overt rebellion. They can tolerate brokenness, ignorance, they can tolerate a lot of things, but the rebel absolutely sets the alarms going for the prophet. And the only thing worse than a rebel is a hypocrite in a position of leadership, and the prophet can usually spot that in 3 seconds not 60. “You have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not and have found them false. “You have persevered and endured hardship for my name and have not grown weary. ” For reasons I can’t explain, God requires a higher price from the prophet than any other gift, in his own walk and in his personal disciplines. Most of the time the prophet has to live out in his life, in his personal sacrifices his faith and his commitment. I don’t think there is any higher example of this in scripture than the prophet Ezekiel. He was a prophet in exile. He was ministering in Babylon, having been carried there from Israel in captivity.
He was ministering to one of the worst congregations around. The Israelites were in absolute denial. Denial is something else that drives the prophet nuts. They were saying “this is not God’s judgment; we don’t deserve God’s judgment. We will be back in our land shortly; this is just a blip on the screen. ” Day after day Ezekiel got in front of those knuckle heads saying, “It is God’s judgment, and it will last, and Jerusalem will be destroyed and you are in denial. ” They said, “no we’re not,” and he said “yes you are. Not only was he in captivity and had a wretched audience, there was also apparently poverty and hardship in his ministry. God had him lie on one side for 300 days, then lay on the other side. All of these symbolic things he had to act out—eat food that was cooked over a polluted fire. Many things he lived out in his own flesh, his own pain. Then, finally, God came to him and said, “you only have one thing that is really important to you and that’s your wife, you love her dearly, she’s the apple of your eye, she’s going to die tomorrow and you’re not going to miss a beat.
You’re going to preach your morning sermon and your evening sermon and you’re not going to mourn or be part of her funeral. ” As prices go, that’s an awfully high price. He paid it. God calls the prophet to pay a high price. There are many well meaning, foolish people that gather around the prophet who has experienced difficulty in his life, and they begin talking about sin and repentance and this, that and the other. For those with redemptive gift of prophet, don’t let God’s people or the devil lay a guilt trip on you.
When your conscience is clear, when you have done what God has called you to do and you’re experiencing severe hardship, when your prayers are not answered and the prayers of other people for you, and prayers for others get immediate answers, God is not angry with you nor has put you on the shelf, this is part of what God does to build authority in the prophet. So persevere. Rev. 2—“you have persevered and endured hardship for My name and have not grown weary. ” There is also the time issue. Ps. 1:3—“he is like a tree planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Let’s take first of all, the phrase “he is like a tree planted by streams of water. ” There are two separate words in the Hebrew, one for planted and one for transplanted. The planted word is to take a stick and make a hole in the ground like you put seeds in. The word in this verse is transplanted. You do not transplant a tree on a whim. It takes a great deal of effort and skill. When God uproots the prophet and moves him to a new location, which God seems to do fairly frequently, it is very intentional, very carefully done.
Even though it is traumatic, it is from the hand of God. God transplants this tree by streams of water, hand-dug irrigation ditches, intentionally put there to water the prophet. Then He goes on and says, it’s like a tree that will bear fruit in his season and the season depends very much on the tree. A papaya tree bears fruit in 6 or 7 months, a lemon tree in a couple years an apple tree in 5, a Brazil nut in 75 years! Each tree bears fruit in its season and there are different seasons within the season. Some prophets will begin to bear fruit early in life, some late in life.
Again, people are so quick to pigeon hole the prophet, to not understand that God deals with the prophet differently than he deals with the other 6. It says “his leaf will not wither. ” There are two Hebrew words, one for wither, the other for wilt. A better translation is his leaf will not wilt. Wither means you cut a branch off, it’s dying, it’s a one way trip, and the leaf never comes back when it withers. A leaf that wilts lacks water. There’s a drought, a dryness, whether for an afternoon or for a season. There is not enough water getting to the leaf.
When the water gets to the leaf, this leaf that is still alive but is drooping will perk up again and will receive its full form. And God says this tree He has planted is not going to wilt, the leaves will not wilt, which means there will always be enough water to get up to the leaves. This has to do with the root system that is so critical for the prophet. The issue is not the water. There is plenty in the irrigation ditch, there’s no shortage. God saw to that, that’s why he transplanted it. The issue is the size of the root system.
The wise gardener who did the transplanting knows he can’t allow nature to run its course. In the natural, the tree is going to develop proportional roots and branches—the first year 10 units of roots, 10 of branches, the 2nd year 20 and 20, the 3rd year 30 & 30. The gardener knows in the context of Israel that this tree, which is planted in the lush valley between the mountain range of Jerusalem and the Jordan River, is going to be subjected from time to time to the siroccos, the hot blowing winds that come from the desert, east of the Jordan River.
So the gardener prepares. He does so by changing the ratio of roots to branches. He has to see to it that there are enough roots to draw not just the ordinary amount of water but to draw the extra-ordinary amount of water up to the leaves. So the gardener does two things. From time to time he will artificially stress the tree by withdrawing water. By simulating a drought, removing the water from the irrigation it forces the tree to thrust down roots deeper and farther to find new sources of water. It’s traumatic in the short run but beneficial in the long.
It can be very disconcerting for the prophet when all of a sudden God is silent. When after years of being able to open the word and hear God speak to him through the word, years of hearing God speak in his ear, all of a sudden God is silent for days, weeks or months. The prophet goes to his heart and searches for sin and confesses everything he ever did and the things he intended to do but didn’t get a chance. He goes to his friends and asks them for examination, he does everything he knows how to do, still God is silent.
Again the well meaning friends of Job come around and begin to point the finger and accuse. Don’t accept the guilt trip from man or the devil. When your conscience is clean and God is silent it is because God wants to force you to drive your roots down deeper level. Eventually, if you will be tenacious, hang in there, persevere, if you’ll keep going to the word that seems so dry, keep going to the word that seems like a rock, eventually out of that rock anointing will flow, the honey will flow, all that you’ve been looking for.
There are times, seasons in the prophet’s life when God is silent and it is not because of their sin, it’s because of God’s plan for their life, trying to develop a deeper, richer root system. There are also times, repeated seasons, for everyone, but more for the prophet where God prunes an effective ministry. You were in a ministry, you were serving, things were going well, and God was blessing and all of the sudden God yanks you out of that ministry and hands it to someone else. It’s painful. What God has done is prune the branches, and now this tree only has 10 units of branches and 30 units of roots.
It grows another year and you get plugged into another ministry and that begins to build and you have 20 units of branches and 40 units of roots and 50 units of branches and 60 units of roots. God prunes it again and yanks you out of this very profitable ministry where you’re touching lives, where the Spirit God is flowing, where there’s life and there’s fulfillment. You’re excited, and you’re beginning to feel the release of the volcano that’s in your belly, and God cuts off those branches and pulls you back out and you’re standing there a nub of a tree with 10 units of branches and 60 units of roots.
Now God says, “I can let him go. Now I know there is enough of a root system there, a root system that is far greater than the branches and I can let him move into a position of ministry. ” God can laugh at the siroccos coming across the Jordan River. Those hot, burning winds and knows that this prophet can face the fire, can face hardship and turmoil, can look fearlessly in the face of a withering blast from the devil and have enough of a root system to draw life from the word of God and his leaf will not wither. God calls the prophet to a higher price than any other gift.
God prepares him, prunes him, stresses the root system Vs. 4 “yet I have this against you, you have forsaken your first love, remember the height from which you have fallen, repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent I will come to you and remove your lamp stand from its place but you have this in your favor you hate the practices of the Nicolaitans which I also hate. ” The Nicolaitans were apparently the followers of one of those first 7 men that were chosen to serve tables in Jerusalem, Nicholas. He taught a cheap grace. He said almost any sin can be overcome very easily.
The sin of fornication only made you unclean for 8 days then you were fully restored, there were no long-term consequences and against that cheap grace the prophet’s ire burns hot. This is characteristic of the prophet. They are so quick to restore but only after there has been legitimate repentance. They are quick to restore but they understand the damage that is done by sin. They’re quick to restore but they know there is no such thing as a small sin. God commended them for their hatred of cheap grace. The verse before said, “if you do not repent I will come to you and remove your lamp stand. God has built within the prophet deep within the core of his being a terror of being sidelined, an absolute fear of becoming so unworthy that the prophet loses the opportunity to pursue his birthright, that the door is forever closed, that the lamp stand is removed. It is something God has placed there as part of the terror of the Lord to keep the prophet walking a holy walk. No other gift can fully understand that latent, resident, permanent fear that the godly prophet has of making a mistake that will cause him to be sidelined, to position him to where he can never possess his birthright.
The prophet brings that fear to bear on others desperately pleading with them to walk in holiness and to not run the risk of losing their opportunity for their birthright. Principle of Design Now the most familiar phrase from Revelations 2:2—“I hold this against you, you have forsaken your first love. ” That brings us to the issue of the principle of design. Moving away from the 7? s to the principle of the design; this is the area where the prophet has to stand and fall on this principle.
Basically, understanding the principles and weaving them together, the challenge for the prophet is to embrace all of the principles. The prophet gravitates to a particular set of principles. There are those areas of rebuilding that seem easy and natural and comfortable, and there are others that seem to be a real nuisance. One of those areas is the principles dealing with relationships. The prophet gets very irritable with having to earn the right to speak because of relationship. “After all, truth is truth, and you should receive it because it’s truth, not because I said it. Yet the reality is that only a small segment of people are prophet. Only a small segment of people are ideologically (relating to a systemic body of concepts) driven. The other 6 gifts are relationally connected. The prophet can be obstinate, he can stand on his truth and cram it down people’s throats and be ineffective with his truth crammer. Or the prophet can choose to study the principles that have to do with relationships and can learn how to walk in authority and in relationship, how to establish appropriate bridges without prostituting the truth that he communicates.
To the degree the prophet is unwilling to embrace the principles of relationship, to that degree his ministry will be crippled and limited. Furthermore, coming back to the passage in Revelations, to the degree the prophet is unwilling to embrace the biblical principles, to seek them out and pursue them, the principles that deal with intimacy with God, to that degree he will be a miserable failure in his walk. Again, God does not need the work of the prophet. God created an entire universe without a prophet helping him do it.
Even though God commends the prophet for the hard work, even though God blesses the prophet and called him to work hard, to work sacrificially, to weave together principles, to do things and go places others haven’t gone before, still the primary call on the prophets life,(which is the primary call on everyone’s life), and that is intimacy with the most high God. That is first and foremost. The carnal prophet who is task-oriented and project-oriented and focused on the truth of the word of God, does not necessarily have intimacy with God, and has missed the point entirely.
God says, “I will remove you, even though you were diligent and hate cheap grace and work hard, even though you’ve persevered, even though you’ve allowed me to prune and haven’t gotten bitter, I will remove you if you consistently resist studying the principles of intimacy with the Most High God. ” Father, Forgive Them Each of these 7 last words of Christ on the cross is the most difficult things for each of the 7 gifts to do. Jesus had all 7 redemptive gifts. Christ faced the toughest issue with each one of the gifts, in sequence, on the cross.
The first thing that he said was, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do”. Prophet’s Battlefield Bitterness becomes the prophets enduring battlefield. The prophet sees hardship, sees the consequences of sin so much more clearly than anyone else. The prophet is horrified by the evilness of sin more so than the other gifts, and so he becomes very prone to step into the role of God and to be not only the judge and jury, but to be the one who issues the sentence and say “this is how long it is going to be, and this is what you have to do before I will release you. It is against that back drop of bitterness, that unforgiving spirit that is so destructive, that it would be good to look at Matt. 18:21, the story of the two slaves. One slave owed the king basically the national debt, an immense amount of money. The other owed the king a lesser amount but still a significant amount. But notice the context 18:21 Matt 18:21. “Then Peter (redemptive gift of prophet) came to Him and said, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times? ’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. The servant owing the national debt pleaded with the king. The king knew he could never repay that amount and unilaterally forgave him. Then he went out and found a second servant that owed him 100 denarii. Many say this was an insignificant amount. Not true, 1 denarii was 1 days wage and so it was 1/3 of a year’s wages. ” Whether you earn 100K a year or minimum wage, if someone rips you off 4 months’ salary, the probability is that it hurts. Compared to the national debt it was nothing. But for a man destitute, broke, a man who was in debt 4 months’ salary is a significant amount that could leverage him to something better.
Servant 1 went to servant 2 and demanded payment and when 2 couldn’t pay, 1 threw him into prison. The king heard about it and his response is interesting. First, he didn’t set servant 2 free. He did have servant imprisoned and turned over to the torturers until he should pay all he owed. If I have nothing and owe the national debt and someone is beating me, that does not necessarily position me to have more money. So the beating couldn’t accomplish servant 1 gaining money. The king was trying to cause servant 1 to receive the forgiveness that had been extended.
The reason 1 grabbed 2 and tried to get the money was that he still wanted to get a nest egg to leverage it to make the money to repay the king. The king had forgiven him but he could not receive the forgiveness and so he was to be tortured until he paid all that he owed. How much did he owe? Nothing. His debt had been forgiven. All he had to do was to say to the torturers “I don’t owe the king anything” and he would be released. But as long as his pride kept him trying to pay the debt, as long as his pride kept him from receiving the forgiveness that the king had given him, to that degree he still had to be tortured.
If he could swallow his pride and receive his forgiveness he could be released and then could release number 2 because he would no longer need to exploit him. Again, we come back to the prophet’s perception of God. The greatest battle for the prophet is not to forgive others; it is to forgive himself when he has sinned deeply. There is a tendency for the prophet to drive himself, for the prophet to flog himself and make everyone around him miserable as well, as the prophet is trying in some way to “pay back” the Lord for the harm he has caused the kingdom of God.
God forces the prophet into a position where he must unilaterally receive the forgiveness that he absolutely does not de