Hope is Prophetic
In times of great adversity,
Prophets offer a hope for the future.
In times of social chaos,
When all man’s wisdom is razed like grass,
The Lord establishes visions through his servants:
That reach across timings and resonate with generations,
As dandelions that endure, consistently producing.
Visionary people speak and the hearers receive endurance,
The Lord clears the canvas of man’s wisdom so that his solutions can be rightly perceived as brilliant.
The vision heals, restores, and re-establishes.
When none can hope or celebrate,
As people tire of cynicism and bitterness,
Prophets offer hope for the future.
Isaiah Demonstrated this Supernatural Hope
The life and prophetic writings of Isaiah demonstrate God’s capacity to give hope for the future. At the same time as Amos prophesied to the Northern Kingdom of Israel, much of Isaiah’s prophesy is directed at Southern Kingdom of Judah.
Larger than the specific territory he was assigned, Isaiah’s life word was about the New Covenant for All People in Christ Jesus.
The book of Isaiah introduces Isaiah’s vision for the New Covenant through the first 5 chapters:
- Isaiah 1:26-28 Purification of Israel
- Isaiah 2:1-5 Promise to All People
- Isaiah 4:2-6 Messianic Hope
- Isaiah 5:26-30 God Establishes his Own Army
Isaiah weaves these sections of hope through lament and judgment prophesies, modeling the future experience of Jews living through the exile and longing for a better future.
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
2 The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of might,
the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord—
3 and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.
He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
or decide by what he hears with his ears;
4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
5 Righteousness will be his belt
and faithfulness the sash around his waist.Isaiah 11:1-5
This vision of the New Covenant defines Isaiah’s entire life.
These themes weave throughout the remainder of his prophecies as the text alternates between history (stories of events and Isaiah’s life) and prophecies to and against nations. Isaiah’s life is a prophesy, and like Hosea, he names his children according to the messianic vision he receives (Isaiah 7:4). Throughout the remainder of Isaiah in chapters 55-66 (Trito-Isaiah), the vision of the Kingdom of God intensifies so greatly that these prophesies have become some of the most famous of the entire bible.
Though Isaiah spent his entire tenure prophesying the 70 year captivity of Israel under the Judean kings Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, his legacy is defined by uncharacteristic hope in the face of pain. Seventy years would be enough time for 3-4 generations to pass, and for god to fulfill his promise to bring the people back to their own land. Without this word, Israel would have struggled to endure the exile and may not have surrendered their remaining hope to return to their own land.
Through this prophesy, all people have the hope of being restored to a restored New Heavens and New Earth, to be grafted into a land full of safety through faith in Jesus.
Even through this disaster, God used Isaiah’s life to unveil his hope for all people.
Supernatural Hope for Today
Luckily, we don’t have to wait multiple generations for God to release a new vision for the future. Across the Earth right now, God is raising up minsters of this supernatural, strategic hope for the future. Though the governments of the world are in chaos and COVID has exposed the tectonic faultlines of our societies, we are in a new Renaissance where the Church will act with strategic vision and power to restore a hurting world.
Individuals will emerge out of the razed ground with vision that will shape their industries for hundreds of years. Their visions will outlive them, and their children will finish the work. God will pour out vindication on his remnant who do not glory in their own lives but pursue the wellbeing of the world. Christlike people will pour out grace of Jesus, and the Lord will favor them to dismantle and build. All nations will taste the beauty of Jesus through their faithful obedience, and Jesus will visibly rule through their sacrificial love. When all willing people have chosen Jesus, he will return in beauty and glory to be with his people forever.
We Need the Generations
One generation cannot accomplish the work that God has called us to do. We must provide multi-generational leadership so that these visions of God will shape society with longevity.
The book of Luke intentionally weaves the birth stories of John the Baptist and Jesus to demonstrate this intergenerational tapestry between old and new covenants. It is demonstrated in the birth of John the Baptist, the last (and greatest) of the Old Testament Prophets. John the Baptist is born strategically in order to “prepare the way of the Lord” (Isaiah 40:3, Matthew 1:1-13) , and in this way, the Old Testament prophets bless the work of Christ as he comes to save the world. This work of intergenerational blessing is sealed when John the Baptist baptizes Jesus.
And this was [John’s] message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8 I baptize you with[e] water, but he will baptize you with[f] the Holy Spirit.” At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.Mark 1:7-9
And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”Mark 1:11
In what ways does the Church lack God’s confirmation and direction because of the lack of intergenerational leadership?
Elihu was also a younger person whose clarity helped restore Job’s hope for the future. When older generations assume all hope is lost, Christlike youth speak with maturity.
“I am young in years,
and you are old;
that is why I was fearful,
not daring to tell you what I know.
7 I thought, ‘Age should speak;
advanced years should teach wisdom.’
8 But it is the spirit[b] in a person,
the breath of the Almighty, that gives them understanding.
9 It is not only the old[c] who are wise,
not only the aged who understand what is right.Job 32:6-9
When the young are afraid because of the uncertainty of the world, elders are a reassuring anchor, modeling certain faith in Christ.
I am writing to you, dear children,
because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.
13 I am writing to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
14 I am writing to you, young men,
because you have overcome the evil one.
I write to you, dear children,
because you know the Father.
I write to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
because you are strong,
and the word of God lives in you,
and you have overcome the evil one.1 John 2:12-14
The Church will not die, she has a future.
The Church will not forget, she has a past.
Together, wise elders and wise youth give us a hope for the future.
Being a Visionary Community
While revelatory people need community, it is actually easier for God to send strategic vision to individuals and use their lives as a testimony of that vision. Just like in the book of Isaiah, the calling process starts on the individual level as people opt into God’s plan for their lives. While prophets received callings as individuals, they formed communities to affect more change and in response to the threat of isolation. For this reason, the Lord instructs Elijah to disciple Elisha. Within the same geographical region, many prophets would have relied on assistants in the production of their texts. Prophets and prophetic scribes opted into the vision given to Isaiah, helping produce his 66 chapters. Apart from houses of prophets in specific geographic regions, prophets living in the same time period would likely know of one another even if they had different callings and audiences. For example, Amos and Isaiah were contemporaries whose similar style place them within a well established Hebrew prophetic tradition. Although Amos’ vocabulary is simpler as a reflection of his farming background and Isaiah’s expansive vocabulary betrays his family’s elite status, their prophecies have a similar, standardized Hebrew prophetic style that had been developed over hundreds of years. Prophesying in a similar fashion was reasonable at time when all Hebrew prophets shared a similar culture.
As a reflection of the New Covenant, Jesus moves prophesy into a more relational and culturally diverse direction. Jesus’s incarnation story begins in the context of relational prophesy, as the Lord entrusted him to a prophetic couple who both received revelation and specific instructions about the nature of his birth (Matthew 1:18-25, Luke 1:26-56). Later, their son would develop a community for the first prophets out of the original Twelve Apostles, an extremely culturally diverse group of disciples that Jesus collects and brings together as family before being sent out. Just like in the Old Testament, male and female apostles and prophets in the New Testament continued to build the Church. Like in the story of Agabus and Paul (Acts 21), prophets and apostles from various regions and cultures worked together to discuss and confirm the present day word of the Lord.
Today, God still gives strategic vision and life words to prophets as individuals. These prophets proclaim the word of the Lord and invite others into a vision that is greater than themselves. They recruit robust teams who can supplement their weaknesses and work towards a shared goal.
Under the New Covenant, God still favors collaboration between culturally diverse prophets. Just like the Twelve Apostles, the Lord brings diverse prophets together to live out their life words as a tapestry of the people of God.
Alliances between these visionary people’s organizations will produce movements of God that cannot happen in isolation. Similar to shared parenting responsibilities between a child’s parents and compadres within Mexican family structure, these ministries will share responsibility for the disciples they raise. Instead of territorial prophetic ministries, Prophetic Apostles who have built together in relationship will receive and equip one another’s disciples for ministry. As prophets take increasing responsibility to raise one another’s children, we will see magnified moves of God and shared impartations. Increasingly, there will be movements of God that are not specific to one nation, but are a hybrid gift to multiple regions, like children with mixed ethnicities.
In this age of Globalization, there will be more prophetic marriages (ministry alliances and actual marriages) between prophets called to different regions. Ultimately, these prophets will build highways between regions for the sake of Jesus.
Receiving a Vision (Life Word) as a Byproduct of Identity
As individuals grow relationally with Jesus, the Lord will draw them further and further into their calling, identity, and purpose. Generally, as God stretches us and heals us of past wounds, callings get clearer. Once distilled (over years), these callings become life words with prophetic purposes that outlive individuals. For example, after Moses had killed the Egyptian, he is adopted into his father-in-law Reuel’s family because Reuel recognizes him as a righteous person after Moses delivers Reuel’s daughters from a group of hostile shepherds. Moses found family with Reuel, whose name means “Friend of God”. Reuel was a righteous man whom God used to put Moses in community so that Moses could rediscover his life word as a Deliverer. In this instance, Reuel is a reflection of Moses’ later identity as God’s friend, and a mirror into Moses’ process of maturity (Exodus 33:11). . By Exodus 18, Reuel is called “Jethro”, a new name that means “overflow”, as a reflection of the blessings and responsibility the Lord has poured out on Moses. At this time, Reuel acts as a true father, sensing the limits of Moses’ capacity to govern the entire Israelite people alone. He suggests that Moses appoint Judges in Israel to help him govern the people, an administrative decision that lasts from the time of the Exodus until the crowning of Saul. All this from a man who was not an Israelite, but a righteous foreigner who had welcomed Moses under the Spirit of Adoption!
Characteristics of a Robust Vision
When God clarifies the life-word given to an individual, the resulting vision will be:
|Strategic, in that it is a hopeful, relevant answer to prayer.||Haggai mobilizes the reluctant leaders among Israel’s exiles to rebuild the temple.|
|Far reaching, with echoes that apply outside of an individual’s context, industry, or time period. |
Cumulative, in that the message is universal enough for people from diverse backgrounds to opt in.
|Isaiah does not just referring to redemption of Judah, but to the redemption of humanity.|
|Pure, in that isn’t stained by political partiality or idolatry.||Amos’ condemns the Israelite rulers not because of political factions, but because of their injustice to the poor.|
Done properly, the Prophet becomes a mouthpiece and symbol of the vision, which reproduces and lives outside of them. Paul’s life word was “the full inclusion of the Gentiles”, a vision that he entrusted to his spiritual offspring to complete on his behalf. In this letter to Timothy, Paul has peace about dying because he knows that he has done his part in history and that someone else will take up his mantle once he has gone to be with the Lord.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”2 Timothy 4:7-8
Like Paul, we must be people who “leave it all on the field”, running our races with all the skill we can and passing the baton to the next generation. We must be Prophets of a future not our own, knowing that “the Kingdom is always beyond us.”
“The secret of life is to have a task, something you devote your entire life to, something you bring everything to, every minute of the day for your whole life. And the most important thing is– it must be something you cannot possibly do. “Henry Moore
Lord, help us do our part in history to see your Kingdom come.
“A Safe Place for My Children”
All people should have the opportunity to know God’s voice through Jesus Christ, and walk with him experientially all the days of their lives. Especially as miracles, signs, and wonders increase (Acts 2:17), the Church must be a community of fearsome love where children’s gifts are not silenced or exploited as a sideshow. The Church must be a nurturing, safe intergenerational family for these young prophets to thrive.
Jesus warns disdainful elders to imitate children:
“Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”Mark 10:15
He invites and does not silence them:
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”Matthew 19:14
He sends servants to liberate those who are being exploited:
As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. 17 She followed Paul and us, crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.” 18 And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour. But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers.Acts 16:16-19
Adults will not be prepared to navigate what God is about to pour out on the Earth in this hour unless they humble themselves to learn from children. In this century, the Church must learn how to depend on God’s wisdom to a greater degree. By creating healthy atmospheres where the young will be safe from spiritual abuse and neglect, adults will learn a lifestyle of revelation that displaces man’s striving and rests in the power of God.
Right now and across the next decade, God is pouring out grace for communities to prepare to receive these young prophets. God is aligning prophets from diverse communities to be mothers and fathers, comadres and compadres to this generation. We as individuals must consider what degree of personal character, what tools, what learning environments, and what organizational alliances will allow them to go as far as possible in Holy-spirit-led relationships with Jesus.
God will give some people property and freedom to stretch out in the natural and in the spirit as they make room for his children. These properties will be thin places, and open heavens will follow leaders to impart gifts to youth in different regions.
The children of your bereavement will yet say in your ears: ‘The place is too narrow for me; make room for me to dwell in.’Isaiah 49:20
Youth-empowering leaders will need to be discerning to make organizational alliances where the prophesy is pure and the vulnerable are protected.
Responding to Potential Pitfalls
There are several potential obstacles that could limit the Church’s participation in this move of God.
Secularism ultimately threatens the right individuals have to live in the distinctiveness of Christian Identity. Secularism is the trend that asserts that Western society has progressed past the point of benefiting from the power and presence of Jesus.
Political Idolatry and the Religious Spirit in North America have further embittered divisions between religiously-motivated but unChristlike Christians and non-Christians. Political idolatry and the Religious Spirit create a false image of Jesus that polarizes individuals against the true expression of Christian faith, which is Christlikeness and sacrificial love for the vulnerable.
The Spirit of the Age (present timings) is seeking not just to justly expose the Church’s shortcomings, but erase the history of positive Christian contributions in arts, history education, medicine, science, sports, and culture.
In the next decade, parents in the West will increasingly need to frame their right to raise their children in a tradition of faith as a right to preserve their own cultural background. There is a long history of families in Western nations seeking religious instruction for their children (whether schooling or training outside of school hours). The book, “Between Church and State” chronicles the history of religious instruction in America across academic contexts, and cites various influential court cases that have shaped America’s educational and religious culture. One of the book’s implicit theses is that parents have a right to public or private education where their family’s worldview will be honored, as it relates to decisions that directly affect their children.
Emphasizing Encounter with Jesus, Rebuilding Trust
At this point, many in the West have been wounded by the misappropriation of the name of Jesus in politics and in the Church. They have come out of contexts where there is an absence of deep encounter with God that transforms people to respond compassionately and justly to the needs of society.
Today, some parents choose to put their children in Christian schools because they see the value of Christlikeness in terms of moral values, but have not made a familial decision to follow Jesus. In these cases, the Church has often failed to embody Christlikeness in a way that is accessible to parents. At a time where increasingly common for families to let their children wait until they are older to make a personal choice of faith, the Body of Christ must be transformed so that we can embody the fullness of Christ’s character to the world. This is not a call to transformation for Christians within the sphere of education, but to the entire Body. Unless the Church becomes more Holy-Spirit filled and sacrificially serves the vulnerable, the world will not recognize Christ in us.
No parent who had experienced the fullness of God’s love for themself would ever want their child to live without it. The faithful action of individuals doing their part to be part of social solution, based on the tradition of Christlikeness will rebuild trust with generations of family members who have lost hope in the Church’s power to effect change. Not by law, but by humility and sacrificial love.
From this place of humility and mutual trust, the Church will demonstrate the experiential gospel, a lifestyle of walking closely with Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit. From this place of relational and communal wholeness, we will have the internal robustness to welcome a “miracles, signs, and wonders” generation.
Reclaiming Legacy of Christian Social Benefit
One of the greatest oversights in the contemporary Church is failing to know and be led by the history of Christian social benefit. While modern Christians may believe in some of the moral values of Jesus, the Church generally struggles to understand examples of how faithful people have put those values in action.
While the damage Christians have done to the world is well known, much less is known (including by the Church) of the ways the Church has transformed arts, history education, medicine, science, sports, and culture. Right now, people of all ages but especially Generation Z are hungry to know their heritage, to rediscover ways Christ has inspired people to transformative good throughout the ages. For this reason, the Religious Order Project I did with my 3rd and 4th graders has unintentionally become the most popular of my articles on this site
In the coming weeks, I will be working on videos to gather the Great Cloud of Witnesses (historic Christian leaders and Saints) to share more of this heritage.
History teaches us that Christians power for social transformation comes from Christlike sacrificial love, Christians must sacrificially serve people within their social contexts through the power of the Holy Spirit and bring present-day solutions to problems their industries are facing. God is commanding his Church to serve and engage with the world to restore the name of Jesus in the world’s sight. In order for us to be recognized as Christians, we respond obediently to God’s voice and be transformed.
A Church that is full of sacrificial love contradicts the need for separation of Church and State! She believes in the social benefit for listening to God through Christ, but uses service instead of law change to bring others to the table. The works Christians produce will testify to the power of God, and we will be held accountable for the impact of what we build on the broader community. God is taking his Church through a season of re-evaluating her works and razing faithless man-made initiatives. In general, if Christians cant build something holistically beneficial that isn’t true to our core values, we shouldn’t be building. Now and in the coming years, God will tangibly reject works that are not aligned to the culture of the Kingdom of Heaven and his values.
The Church Must Stand Out
In various cultures around the world, from Australia, Ireland, China, Brazil, to South Africa, tall poppy syndrome paralyzes the church from walking in the fullness of her destiny, calling and purpose. Tall poppy syndrome is a sociological term that relates to “a perceived tendency to discredit or disparage those who have achieved notable wealth or prominence in public life” (Oxford languages).
Related to deliverance ministry, Tall poppy syndrome is related to a Spirit of Jealousy, which motivates individuals to attack others who they perceive to stand out in gifting, talent, and character.
David faced the Spirit of Jealousy through Saul’s jealousy (1 Samuel 18), and Paul likely faced it in his dynamics with some of the other Apostles who considered him to be too ambitious and tried to discredit his ministry (2 Corinthians 11:1-15).
Due to a healthy value for ambition co-existing with the idolatry of success, the United States is perhaps the most supportive country in the world for individuals to stand out. However, in the United States, the Spirit of Jealousy combines with dehumanizing aspects of capitalism to breed competition and still targets “over-achievers”.
The Spirit of Jealousy is anti-Christian because of its lack of solidarity with others. In Christianity, one Christian’s success is all Christians’ success. We are called to bless, encourage, and strengthen on another as the body of Christ, celebrating one another’s victories and mourning one another’s losses.
“Bless those who persecute you. Bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep. 16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but enjoy the company of the lowly. Do not be conceited.”Romans 12:14-16
“Make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.”Phillipians 2:2
Realistically, the Church cannot accomplish her end time purposes without being extremely different than the world. In order to disarm the Spirit of Jealousy and continue to flourish in their ministry, Christian leaders must be so humble in character that even in standing out, they cannot be targeted.
In a broken world, the Church MUST stand out. By definition, the Church as it images Jesus, inevitable WILL stand out! Why?
In times of crisis, when no one else has the grace to be hopeful, Christians are the only people capable of receiving and proclaiming visionary hope.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.”Matthew 5;14
Both David and Saul left room for God to deal with their enemies and continued to serve and honor even the people who most hated them. David refused to hard his enemies, but allowed the Lord to lift him up:
But David said to Abishai, “Do not destroy him, for who can lift a hand against the LORD’s anointed and be guiltless?” 10David added, “As surely as the LORD lives, the LORD Himself will strike him down; either his day will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish. 11But the LORD forbid that I should stretch out my hand against the LORD’s anointed. Instead, take the spear and water jug by his head, and let us go.”1 Samuel 26: 9-11
In this letter, Paul encourages Timothy to allow trust that God will make his righteousness “plain to all” in comparison to his critics. Instead, Timothy is meant to simply imitate Paul’s imitation of Jesus.
Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses,a so also these men oppose the truth. They are depraved in mind and disqualified from the faith. 9But they will not advance much further. For just like Jannes and Jambres, their folly will be plain to everyone.
You, however, have observed my teaching, my conduct, my purpose, my faith, my patience, my love, my perseverance, 11my persecutions, and the sufferings that came upon me in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra. What persecutions I endured! Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them.
The Church is called to be gentle, regardless of her opponents.
5Let your gentleness be apparent to all. The Lord is near.Phillipians 4:4-5
As the Church loves and serves her enemies, the difference between Christlike “outstanders” and jealous critics will be obvious to all.
Intergenerational leadership is built on Christlike solidarity and against jealousy, because the nonbiological disciples you raise will ultimately raise your grandchildren.
A Prophetic Church is hopeful and solutionary across generations,
In this Acts 2:17 era,
She will be known by hybrid movements of God across geographies,
Through co-parented disciples,
By the inexplicable power of God in the youngest,
And the humility and teachability of Christ in the oldest.
She will make room for the vulnerable and be unafraid of the world’s mess,
She will know her historic identity and be unafraid of the future,
And stretch out her borders to invite in righteous people (like Jethro) who were previously on the margins,
The wisdom of newly added people will protect and insulate her future,
And along with the Great Cloud of Witnesses,
We will continue to build the lineage of Christ.