By Joan Emery (Hamilton, New Zealand)
We live in exciting, challenging times; times when God is bringing about many changes in the Church as we know it. One of the changes that I have observed and participated in is the restoration of prophetic acts. As we keep our eyes on Jesus and passionately seek His face, everything He IS comes with Him. He is Spirit and He is prophetic. A prophetic act is more than - or differs from - a spoken word of prophecy, or word of knowledge. It’s an action, something we DO under the anointing and unction of the Holy Spirit as a step of faith, as an act of obedience to release the power, the presence and the victory of God into a situation. Yes, it can include prophecy and words of knowledge, or it can be an act that stands alone without any ‘extras’. The Bible records many prophetic acts, but there is no set pattern to go by – the Holy Spirit never gets in a rut, He doesn’t grow stale in His prophetic capacity. If you and I are willing to be open to the Holy Spirit, we’ll see an explosion of His fullness working through us to bring wholeness to the Body.
The story in Joshua Chapter 10, where Joshua makes a prophetic declaration, is amazing. He was on the battlefield, fighting against five Amorite kings and their armies, but he needed more time, more daylight to get the job completed successfully. So he looked up at the sun and made an awesome prophetic declaration . . . “Sun, stand still! You will not go down today, but you will continue to shine and give us light until the battle is won. Moon, don’t come this way tonight; we have no need of you, just stay right where you are!” What authority! What faith!
Just recently in a “GFM” meeting, the Holy Spirit told me to wave a flag over a couple who were being ministered to for a wounded spirit. My mind told me that was crazy - what could waving a flag do? But as I was obedient, the Holy Spirit caused me to make a strong declaration over their lives and pronounce victory into their spirits. Next thing, the wife was standing on a chair, waving the flag high in the air with all her might; she was getting involved in a prophetic act to break off the wounding in her spirit. Holy Spirit ministry is all about bringing life, setting people free, sending them on their way whole and healed. Later on, the wife shared with me how significant the prophetic act had been. No one else in that meeting (except her husband) knew that many years before, while she had been leading a meeting, the Holy Spirit had prompted her to stand on a chair and wave a flag to bring a spirit of celebration and joy. When I approached them with the flag in that meeting, immediately the wife’s mind went straight back to that occasion and she knew the Holy Spirit was setting her free.
Again, in a recent meeting, the Holy Spirit showed me He was “waiting” for a prophetic whistle. I found myself having a quick conversation with the Holy Spirit . . . “Whistle? . . . but you can’t whistle in church . . . it just wouldn’t be acceptable.” But the reply came straight back, “Who are you to say what is acceptable? I can use whatever I choose.”
Last year I was part of a “GFM” women’s team ministering in the South Island of New Zealand when one of our team began to prophesy on a tambourine. It was simply amazing because it was done as a prophetic act. It happened after the Holy Spirit caused me to make a strong declaration over the congregation that we would Move On In God; that we wouldRUMBLE for God! Liz began to RUMBLE the tambourine, and the sound filled the air. It rose and fell; it stirred my spirit with such an excitement that, when she stopped playing, I felt almost robbed; I felt like the link to heaven had suddenly been cut.
Some Old Testament Examples of Prophetic Acts:
Read the story of Elisha in 2 Kings 13: 14-20.
It seems that Joash the king of Israel had great respect for Elisha, even though Joash was an evil king. The words he wept over Elisha as he was dying were the very same words Elisha had cried out to Elijah as he was taken up to heaven in a chariot of fire . . . “O my father, my father! The chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof.” King Joash was saying, “Elisha, my father, you are the strength of Israel. You’ve been our eyes, our ears, our victory . . . but now you’re leaving us!” What was Elisha’s response? He could have had a good cry too; after all, he was a dying man. Did he wallow in self-pity? No! He initiated a prophetic act to bring blessing and victory to his beloved Israel. His body might have been “packing it in” but his spirit was just as alert as ever.
“Take bow and arrows,” he said to the king. “Put your hand on the bow.” Elisha was getting the king involved. Then Elisha laid his hands on top of the king’s hands and imparted victory. So it was not only a prophetic act but it was also an impartation of victory from Elisha to King Joash.
“Now open the window eastward and shoot the arrow.” And as the arrow was shooting through the air, Elisha made a prophetic declaration, “The arrow of the Lord’s deliverance and the arrow of deliverance from Syria: For you shall smite the Syrians in Aphek till you have consumed them.”
Then Elisha said to the king, “Take the arrows and strike them on the ground.” So Joash took the arrows, struck them upon the ground three times then stopped . . . and Elisha was angry with him. “You should have struck the ground five or six times . . . now you will only defeat Syria three times.” Verse 25 confirms their three victories over Syria, totally fulfilling the prophetic act and the prophetic declaration.
King Joash was unskilled in such matters as prophetic acts but Elisha understood the POWER that was unleashed as the Holy Spirit prompted him in this manner.
Moses was always carrying out prophetic acts with his rod, he was always prophesying with his rod. God chose Moses, knowing he had a speech impediment (see Exodus 4:10), so He (God) could speak through him; so He could do signs, wonders and miracles through him; so He could do prophetic acts through him. God chose a man who now knew how to LEAN ON HIM. God said to Moses in Exodus 4:2, “What’s that in your hand? . . . USE IT!” His rod became his point of contact for prophetic acts.
In Exodus 14, after the Israelites fled from Egypt, we read about the Egyptians pursuing them with vengeance; they wanted to retrieve their slaves; the exodus of the Israelites had humiliated them; they were all devastated at the loss of their firstborn. In verses 15, 16 & 21 we see that Moses had to DO something, not SAY something. “Don’t speak . . . ACT! Stop praying, stop crying out to Me and get the people moving forward. Stretch out your rod over the sea and divide it . . .”
Prophetic acts are about going forward; forging ahead in the realm of the prophetic.
A New Testament Example of a Prophetic Act:
Jesus turning the water into wine – Read John 2: 1-10.
Jesus isn’t speaking to His mother as a son to his mother; He’s speaking to her as the Messiah; He’s speaking to her as Jesus the Christ. This is the beginning of a new relationship with His mother.
“Woman,” He said to His mother, “My hour has not yet come. Providing the wine is not the purpose of My calling. Don’t bother Me with such trivialities!”
Why, then, did Mary concern Jesus with the fact that they had run out of wine? Wasn’t she just a guest at the wedding and therefore not responsible for the provision of the wine? Maybe she sensed in her spirit that the time for His public ministry had come? It seems that Mary totally ignored what Jesus said to her, because she made this amazing statement to the servants, “Whatever He says to you . . . DO IT!” and, bear in mind that up to this point Jesus hadn’t performed any miracles; there was no earthly reason why she should have said it. But Mary’s statement was a prophetic declaration, and it’s just as powerful a statement today as it was the day Mary prophetically declared it.
Jesus didn’t turn the water into wine to grant His mother her request.
He did it for more reasons than His first miracle.
He did it also as a prophetic act.
Jesus was signifying to the religious Jews that humanity would no longer need to be purified by this water; they would no longer have to wash from the ceremonial pots, which was a strict part of the Jewish purification rites. Jesus was signifying that they were to be washed in the blood (His blood) to be made clean; they were to be washed in His blood to receive salvation. He purposely chose to use the ceremonial waterpots, testifying to them that the natural element of water was to become a spiritual element of wine, representing His blood: His blood being poured out for them (and for us.)
Without even realizing it, the servants at the wedding reception became part of a prophetic act. The statement was made, “They’ve run out of wine,” so Jesus said, “Fill the water pots (washtubs!) with water!” Then Jesus said to the servants, “Pour out the wine to the governor of the feast!” Just as Mary had declared (the servants didn’t have to SAY a thing) they just had to DO it. ”Whatever He says to you, DO it!” And they did!
The comment came from the governor of the feast to the bridegroom . . . “How amazing that you should keep the best wine till last. It’s the normal practice to serve the best wine first, then, when everyone has had a ‘skin full,’ they don’t notice the decline in quality!”
Yes, it’s time to “step outside the box”; it’s time to stop dictating to the Vine instead of abiding in the Vine. It’s time to let the sap of the Holy Spirit flow freely between the Vine and the branches so that we bear much fruit, which, of course, is the very purpose for us abiding in the Vine. If we want to be filled with the fullness of Christ, then we need to be “pressed down, shaken together and running over” with the sap of the Holy Spirit Whose very purpose is to flow freely between the Vine and His branches.