5/06/2021

CONTENDING FOR A MORE PURE FLOW OF PROPHETIC MINISTRY

Sue and I once stopped for the night in Pennsylvania coal country. I turned on the water to take a bath and it came out very dark. The water source was pure, but the pipes through which the water flowed were tainted with coal dust.

And so it is with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, including prophecy. The Holy Spirit and His gifts are pure, but they flow through frail and fallible human vessels. In over 60 years of observing and participating in prophetic ministry, I have seen individual pride, personal doctrine, feelings, and misconceptions dirty the water of the Holy Spirit as He flowed through sincere, but flawed, human vessels. 

This, of course, is why prophetic ministry is so tenuous. It is why we are instructed in Scritpure to “test the spirits” and to “judge” prophetic utterances.

In this article, I am adressing 3 popular misconceptions that dirty the flow of prophetic ministry. I believe they contributed to so many “prophets” getting it wrong about the 2020 presidential election. Although we will never be “perfect” in our prophetic giftings, correcting these misconceptions can help us move in a more pure flow of the Holy Spirit and His gifts.

Misconception #1
The Gift of Prophecy Gives Me the Ability to Predict the Future

The New Testament gift of prophecy is not a gift to predict the future. It is not a fortunetelling gift. It is a spontaneous manifestation of the Holy Spirit giving the ability to speak forth the heart and mind and God to a particular situation or circumstance. It is about “forthtelling,” not “foretelling” (Hyatt, Prophets and Prophecy, 13).

Even in the Old Testament, the purpose of prophecy was not to predict the future. Although their message might contain a future and predictive element, their purpose was not to satisfy human curiosity about the future. Their purpose was to speak the heart and mind of God to His people.

In the Old Testament, we find God raising up prophets especially during times of apostasy and idolatry. The messages of the prophets were messages of repentance, calling the people to turn from their idols and return to their God.  After Israel went into captivity because of her sins, the writer of II Kings said,

The LORD warned Judah and Israel though all His prophets and seers: “Turn from your evil ways. Observe My commands and decrees, in accordance with the entire Law that I commanded your ancestors to obey . . .” (II Kings 17:13).

If speaking the heart and mind of God was characteristic of Old Testament prophecy, it is even more so in the New Testament. I Corinthains 14:3 says that prophecy is given for edification, exhortation, and comfort. It is given to affirm and encourage, as Paul says in I Corinthians 14:32. Although there can be a future element to prophecy, it is never given to satisfy human curiosity about the future.

An added dimension of New Testament prophecy is the centrality of Christ in its operation. In John 16:14, Jesus said that when the Holy Spirit had come, He will glorify Me, and Revelation 19:10 says, The spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus.

Those who become preoccupied with predicting the future have moved away from New Testament prophetic ministry and closer to pagan psychics and fortunetellers. It is possible that so many “prophets” got it wrong about the 2020 election because they ministered with this misconception that they had a gift to predict the future.

Misconception #2
Prophecy is a Permanent Gift that I Operate at My Discretion

Those who think they can prophesy at their own discretion—when and where they choose—inevitably give false and misleading prophecies out of their own mind and imaginations. The New Testament is clear that the miraculous gifts of the Spirit, including prophecy, come forth as the Spirit wills, not as we will (I Corinthians 12:11).

A “prophet” gave me a word concerning my “little brother,” about whom he said I was very concerned. He said there was no need for my concern for God had revealed to him that my little brother would be saved. There was just one big problem with his prophecy. I do not have a little brother.

This person was sincere but had been deceived into thinking that he had a gift of prophecy that he could operate at his own initiative. It resulted in him giving many prophecies out of his own human feelings, thoughts, and impressions.

In I Corinthians 12:7, Paul uses the Greek word phanerosis, translated as “manifestation,” to describe Spiritual gifts, including prophecy. It literally means “a shining forth” and refers to something that has been hidden being brought out into the open. Spiritual gifts are “manifestations” of the Spirit.

The use of phanerosis highlights the fact that these gifts reside in the Holy Spirit, not in the person. They are manifested by the Spirit, not the individual. If you are a child of God with the Holy Spirit dwelling in you, all these gifts are available to you but they come forth at His discretion.

My wife, Sue, and I have personally seen these gifts manifest at the most unexpected times and in the most unusual places. For example, we once sat down in a strange restaurant in a strange city where we had agreed to meet the pastor of the church where we would be ministering that week.

When he finally came in and sat down, Sue burst forth with a message in tongues. I had the interpretation, which was a prophetic word for this pastor. He was amazed and asked permission to share what had just happened to the members of his church board with whom he was meeting after our meal. He said the prophetic message precisely confirmed a challenging proposal he was going to submit to them that day.

We did not plan that nor could we ever duplicate it. We cannot use the Holy Spirit; we can only allow Him to use us. The key is to nurture a sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, avoid grieving Him with unseemly words and behavior, and be ready to respond to His most gentle promptings.

Misconception #3
“Prophet” is a Title I Wear in Front of My Name

America's founders understood the inherent dangers of handing out honorific titles. In Article I, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution, they forbade the American government from granting honorific titles of nobility to anyone and forbade anyone holding a governement office from accepting a a title or office from a foreign state without the consent of Congress.

Honorific titles can lead to pride and give individuals an inflated idea of their importance. The Bible continually warns against pride and reminds us that it was pride that led to the downfall of Satan. I once heard the Holy Spirit say to me, while ministering in a prophetic church, "The stronghold of deception is pride." 

This is why the early church avoided titles, and is why you will never see anyone in the NT with a title in front of their name. Although certain individuals, such as Agabus, are referred to as prophets, they are never called “Prophet Agabus.” In a similar way, Luke mentions Paul by name more than 120 times and not once does he say, “Apostle Paul,” but merely “Paul.” In 2 Peter 3:14, Peter refers to our beloved brother Paul. In Rev. 1:9, John the apostle, in his letter to the churches, refers to himself as your brother and companion in tribulation.

This obvious avoidance of titles is understandable in light of the words of Jesus in Matthew 23:6-12 where He warned His disciples about adopting titles that would lift them above their fellow believers. He said,

But you, do not be called “Rabbi”; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant.

In the Old Testament, God raised up prophets to be his mouthpiece to His people, but on the Day of Pentecost, a prophetic community came into existence. In the New Testament Church all believers are expected to be filled with the Holy Spirit. All have the potential to hear God and to function prophetically.

In the New Testament, there is no indication of an elite group of prophets who hear God for the rest of the church. Dr. Gordon Fee is, therefore, correct when he says that those who are referred to as “prophets” in the New Testament are merely those who prophesy more than the other members of the prophetic community (Hyatt, Prophets and Prophecy, 108),

Robert Morris, Founder and Senior Pastor of Gateway Church, obviously understands this. He told of an individual telling him that he needed a “prophet” on his staff. Morris said he replied, “I don’t need a prophet; I have the Holy Spirit.”

Jesus said the reason His followers should avoid titles is that you are all brethren. I can see the benefit of titles in a church or ministry organization to help people understand the various functions and roles, but the adoption of titles for no other reason but to give status and prestige goes against the spirit of the Gospel and is a violation of the teachings of Jesus.

Summation

God has promised that in the last days He will pour out His Sprit on all flesh with sons and daughters prophesying (Acts 2:17). Prophecy, however, is a cooperation between the human and the Divine, which is why it is tenuous and must be tested and evaluated. Dealing with the above misconceptions can help us be more finely tuned vessels through which the Holy Spirit can flow with His gifts, resulting in a more pure flow of the Holy Spirit in the days ahead.

This article is derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt's latest book, Prophets and Prophecy, available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com. He is also the author of the strategic and timely book, 1726: The Year that Defined America, which documents how America was defined by 1726 rather than 1619. 

5/03/2021

POSITIVE PROOF THAT AMERICA WAS DEFINED BY 1726, NOT 1619

#Remembering1726
This past week, Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY), sent  a letter to Education Secretary, Miguel Cardona, in which he expressed “grave concern” about the Biden administration's plan to implement the New York Times' "1619 Project" into school curriculums across America.

There is reason for McConnell’s “grave concern,” for the “1619 Project” paints America as inherently racist and corrupt and in need of fundamental transformation. According to those who propagate this myth, 1619, when the first African slaves were brought to these shores, defined America and is her true founding, not 1776.

This narrative is already being taught in many public schools and has even infiltrated Christian schools. A distraught parent recently contacted me to tell me of her daughter being taught, in her Christian school, that America’s founders were bad people and only wanted freedom for themselves.

The situation is critical, for as Alexander Solzhenitsyn said, "To destroy a people, you must first sever their roots." If we do not preserve our roots, the America of Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Lincoln, and King will be no more.  What a tragedy that would be for America and for all mankind!

1726 is the Key for Interpreting Our History

Slavery is a horrible blight on America’s past and could have defined the country, had it not been for 1726. That year, a great, spiritual awakening began, which profoundly transformed colonial America. Racial and cultural barriers were breached and an abolition movement was ignited that eventually brought about the end of slavery on this continent.

Instead of being defined by 1619, America became defined by 1726 as a land of faith and freedom. The key to preserving our history and confronting the 1619 myth is to understand what happened, beginning in 1726. Interpreting America's history in the light of 1726 changes everything. 

Here are 5 historical facts from the 1726 narrative that completely undermines the 1619 myth about America.

Fact #1
Slavery Was Not Unique to America

Slavery is a part of sinful humanity and has been practiced by many peoples and civilizations for thousands of years. Slavery was being practiced in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and many parts of the world when the first African slaves were brought to America in 1619.

This is why the late Dr. Walter E. Williams, who was Professor of Economics at George Mason University, and who happened to be black, said that slavery in America was neither odd nor strange. He pointed out that at the beginning of the nineteenth century, “An estimated three-quarters of all people alive were trapped in bondage against their will either in some form of slavery or serfdom.”

Williams pointed out that what was unique about slavery in America was both the brevity of its existence and the moral outrage that arose against it. The late historians, Elizabeth Fox-Genovese and Eugene Genovese, agreed, saying,

Europeans did not outdo others in enslaving people or treating slaves viciously. They outdid others by creating a Christian civilization that eventually stirred moral condemnation of slavery and roused mass movements against it.

Fact #2
Moral Outrage Arose Against Slavery in Colonial America

As documented in my book, 1726, a powerful anti-slavery movement emerged out of the great, spiritual awakening that rocked colonial America in the 18th century. In this “Great Awakening,” racial and cultural barriers were breached as blacks and whites worshipped together and shared the Gospel with everyone regardless of race or status in life.

Second-generation Awakening preachers then began to viciously attack the institution of slavery around 1750. Samuel Hopkins (1721–1803), for example, who had been personally tutored by Jonathan Edwards, was outraged by what he saw while pastoring in Newport, Rhode Island, an important hub in the transatlantic slave trade. He declared, “This whole country have their hands full of blood this day.”

In 1774, after the First Continental Congress had convened in Philadelphia, Hopkins sent a pamphlet to every member of the Congress, asking how they could complain about “enslavement” to England and overlook the “enslavement” of so many blacks in the Colonies.

As “Liberty” was becoming a watchword throughout the Colonies, the preachers of the Awakening began applying it to the enslaved in America. Like Hopkins, they pointed out the hypocrisy of demanding freedom from England while continuing to tolerate the institution of slavery in their midst. The Baptist preacher, John Allen, thundered,

Blush ye pretended votaries of freedom! ye trifling Patriots! who are making a vain parade of being advocates for the liberties of mankind, who are thus making a mockery of your profession by trampling on the sacred natural rights and privileges of Africans (Hyatt, 1726:The Year that Defined America, 93-94).

The breaching of racial barriers in the Great Awakening provided the social context for George Washington to order his recruiting officers to accept free blacks into the ranks of the Continental Army. As a result, by 1781 one in every seven American soldiers was black. Blacks and whites fought together for freedom from Great Britain.

Out of this Christian Awakening, the moral and spiritual forces were unleashed that would eventually bring about the end of slavery on this continent.

Fact #3
America’s Founders Rejected Slavery
When it Was Accepted Around the World

As a result of the Great Awakening and the abolition movement it launched, virtually all of America’s founders turned against slavery at a time it was accepted and practiced throughout the world. Dr. Thomas Sowell, who happens to be black, has written about this, saying,

Slavery was just not an issue, not even among intellectuals, much less among political leaders, until the 18th century–and then it was an issue only in Western civilization. Among those who turned against slavery in the 18th century were George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and other American leaders. You could research all of 18th century Africa or Asia or the Middle East without finding any comparable rejection of slavery there (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 90).

Dr, Benjamin Rush of Philadelphia was a member of the Continental Congress and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. A passionate abolitionist, he called on the ministers of America to take a bold stand against slavery, saying, “Slavery is a Hydra sin and includes in it every violation of the precepts of the Laws and the Gospels” (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 101).

Two years before the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin liberated his two slaves and began advocating for abolition. He joined the Abolition Society in Philadelphia and later served as its president.

George Washington’s situation was more complex because of the size of the plantation and the number of slaves he had inherited. Nonetheless, he set up a compassionate program to completely disentangle Mt. Vernon from the institution of slavery. Concerning abolition, he declared,

Not only do I pray for it, on the score of human dignity, but I can clearly foresee that nothing but the rooting out of slavery can perpetuate the existence of our union by consolidating it in a common bond of principle (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 103).

Even those founders, such as Patrick Henry, who did not free their slaves admitted that it was sinful and wrong. By the time of the writing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the Constitution in 1787, virtually every founder agreed with John Adams who declared,

Every measure of prudence ought to be assumed for the eventual total extirpation of slavery from the United States. I have throughout my whole life held the practice of slavery in abhorrence (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 101).

Yes, America’s founders were at the forefront of the fight to end slavery in the 18th century.

Truth #4
America’s Founding Documents Are Colorblind

Because of the Great Awakening, there are no classifications based on race or skin color in America’s founding documents. Nothing in either the Declaration of Independence or the United States Constitution indicates that the freedoms guaranteed do not apply to every individual.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929–1968) understood this and in his stirring, I Have a Dream speech, he challenged America, not to dispense with her founding documents, but instead, to live up to them. Speaking from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, he declared,

When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the "unalienable Rights" of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Then quoting from the Declaration of Independence, he proclaimed,

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal” (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 122).

Yes, America’s founding documents are colorblind even if her history has not been.

Fact #5
Hundreds of Thousands of American Citizens
Sacrificed Their Lives to End Slavery

Where would a nation get the moral fortitude to sacrifice a million of its citizens in order to end slavery? The Civil War was, by far, the costliest war America has ever fought. There was an incredible loss of property and livelihood, but nothing could compare with the loss of life that occurred.

It is estimated that at least 700,000 soldiers lost their lives. Add to this the civilian casualties and the thousands who were permanently maimed and injured and we arrive at the estimate of one million casualties. The magnitude of the loss is amplified by the fact that the United States population at the time was only 31 million.

By way of comparison, in WWII around 290,000 American soldiers lost their lives. In the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan less than 10,000 Americans have died. More lives were lost in the Civil War than in all wars combined from the American Revolution through the Korean Conflict.

It was truly a devastating time. Weeping could be heard in homes throughout America. In many homes both father and sons were missing. Hardly a family could be found that had not lost multiple family members. 

It was the moral conviction that slavery was abhorrent in the sight of God that led hundreds of thousands of white Americans to put their lives on the line to bring about the abolition of slavery in their land. This moral outrage was a product of 1726 and the Awakening that began that year and the Awakenings that came afterwards.

                                                 The Summation of it All

Yes, America’s history has been far from perfect, but where sin has abounded God’s grace has abounded much more (Romans 5:20b). 1619 represents America’s sin but 1726 represents God’s grace sent forth in the form of a great, spiritual awakening.

Because of 1726 and subsequent awakenings, Christian awakening is in our national DNA. Let us, therefore, pray with confidence that another Great Awakening will sweep across our land, renewing our faith and bringing hope, healing, and reconciliation.  #Remembering1726

This article is drived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt's book, 1726: The Year that Defined America, available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com. He is also the creator of the "1727 Project," which is a Powerpoint presentation documenting America's birth out of a spiritual awakening that also brought about the end of slavery on the American continent.