by Nathan Shaw
Prophecy is a gift given to the Body of Christ to bring great blessing. It is a plan of the enemy to take that which God has given and use it for evil. This can easily happen when those with authority from God operate with illegal agendas that are not in line with the government of God's Kingdom. Jesus confronted this plainly in the Sermon on the Mount.
Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!' (Matthew 7:21-23).
Operating in the authority of God and submitting to the will of God are not the same. It is perfectly possible to walk in the authority of God and not be submitted to His will. Every believer has great authority in God and those that submit to God's rule will walk in increasing authority. This is God's will for us. The danger exists if we let pride enter our lives. When pride enters it has a blinding effect. We can still walk in authority but we become susceptible to using it in ways that are not correct. As we grow in humility we are able to walk in greater authority without it blinding us to God's will.
"Operating in the authority of God and submitting to the will of God are not the same."
I am not writing to warn about the danger of walking in authority without humility. I am hoping, rather, to help those who have been affected by the wrong use of prophetic authority. The effects can be devastating and seriously hinder a person's future call and ministry. It brings the enemy great pleasure to use prophecy to abort or seriously hinder God's purposes in our lives. We don't have to let the enemy succeed in this strategy.
Many years ago I was part of a particular Pentecostal denomination. One of the national leaders of this denomination was invited to minister at my local church. Not only was this minister on the national leadership team, He was also recognized as a prophet within the denomination. During the meetings I received a public prophecy. He affirmed that I was called to teach people how to catch the wind of the Spirit. However, straight away he qualified this and said that if I got too big for my boots I would be moved aside and God would raise up another. I was shocked. It felt like getting hit. I am not the sort of person you have to rebuke with heavy handed words and I was passionate about walking in humility. At face value I should have been able to brush the words aside, but they came with a spiritual force that devastated me. A blanket of heaviness came around me.
One week later I attended a prophetic conference in another city. The speaker was Pastor Gary Greenwald from Eagles Nest Ministries. There were several hundred people at the conference. Gary wanted to demonstrate the gift of prophecy. He asked a local pastor to choose five people from those attending the conference. I was chosen. That was a surprise to me. I wasn't even from that city. Gary prophesied over the other four people but then went on and preached. At the end of his message he prophesied over me. What he said was so simple: "You are a follower of the Lamb and you follow Him wherever He goes." With those words the blanket of heaviness broke. It was like the difference between night and day. However, for several years after that I was terrified to be in a meeting in which the speaker was prophesying over people.
Paul publicly rebuked Peter (Galatians 2:11). It was an intense confrontation - an apostle publicly rebuking an apostle! It was necessary because Peter had two standards of behavior. When certain Jews were present he would separate himself and eat only with the Jews. When these Jews were not present he would eat with the Gentiles. Peter's public double standard needed to be publicly rebuked because others were getting caught up in the double standard. When words of correction come from God we must be willing to receive them. They are not always pleasant but they help us walk in freedom. Words that come from an illegal agenda are quite different. Sometimes they can be brushed aside, but they can also have a power and authority over our lives that needs to be broken.
"Words that come from an illegal agenda...can have a power and authority over our lives that needs to be broken."
Elijah and Jezebel
A good example of the authority of an illegal agenda can be found in the conflict between Elijah and Jezebel.
Elijah was raised up by God to confront the rampant idolatry in the nation of Israel. He boldly appeared to king Ahab declaring there would be no rain for three and a half years (1 Kings 17:1). This was to confront the Baal worship which was rampant in Israel. Baal was the god of the raincloud. At the end of the three and a half years Elijah challenged the false prophets to call down fire on a sacrificial animal. The false prophets worked themselves into a demonic frenzy trying to call down fire on the sacrificial animal. Nothing happened (1 Kings 18:17-29).
Elijah's turn came. He prepared the sacrificial animal, placed it on the altar, dowsed altar and sacrifice in water and then called down fire from heaven. Everything was consumed. It was a decisive victory against idolatry and it was displayed before the whole nation. The false prophets were shown to be powerless and seized. Elijah then performed three feats of supernatural strength. Firstly he killed all eight hundred and fifty false prophets. Secondly he climbed to the top of Mount Carmel and engaged in an intense intercession to break the drought. Rain clouds begun to form. Thirdly, still operating in supernatural strength, he ran ahead of King Ahab who was being transported in a chariot (1 Kings 18:30-46). So far so good. But the story continues.
And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, also how he had executed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, "So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time." And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life. (1 Kings 19:2-3).
Jezebel's words came with an authority that caused the previously fearless Elijah to run for his life. Jezebel was operating out of a very powerful illegal agenda. She sat as a Queen over God's people but was in allegiance with demonic forces. Because the forces of darkness had been publicly defeated they were enraged. They released their full fury through their messenger, Queen Jezebel. Her words hit Elijah with a force that stunned him. It was only through a very powerful encounter with God that this demonic assignment was broken over his life (1 Kings 19:9-19). Once Elijah had overcome this demonic assignment he walked in an even greater authority. He was used to anoint a new generation of prophets, kings and warriors who would see Jezebel soundly defeated (1 Kings 19:15-17).
This example is very dramatic, but it clearly illustrates the power of illegal agendas. An illegal agenda operates when a demonic agenda or a human agenda is given preeminence above God's agenda. Christian prophets don't operate out of deliberate allegiance with demonic forces. However, when they operate out of fear or rejection, or are promoting some type of party line, they can easily be used to speak with an illegal agenda.
King Ahab's Death
Interestingly, king Ahab died because of an illegal agenda. Ahab went to war against Syria to regain the Israelite city of Ramoth-Gilead. He persuaded Jehoshaphat the king of Judah to go with him. Before going to war Jehoshaphat requested that the prophets inquire of the LORD. Ahab gathered about four hundred prophets who said, "Go up, for the LORD will deliver it into the hand of the king." (1 Kings 22:6). The prophets, eager to win favor with the king, prophesied exactly what he wanted to hear. Jehoshaphat, discerning that the prophets were not really in allegiance with God, asked Ahab, "Is there not still a prophet of the LORD here, that we may inquire of him?" (1 Kings 22:7).
At this request Micaiah was brought before them. Micaiah prophesied that Ahab would be killed and Israel scattered. Ahab disregarded this warning and went to war. He disguised himself as one of the regular soldiers to try and frustrate the fulfilment of the prophecy. Not being recognizable as the king he was less likely to be targeted. A soldier accidentally fired an arrow which hit Ahab. Later that day Ahab died a victim of his own game (1 Kings 22:8-38). It seems fitting that a king who operated in illegal agendas all his life was killed because of an illegal agenda.
The four hundred prophets that prophesied what Ahab wanted to hear are a good example of prophets operating in an illegal agenda to obtain or maintain power, privilege or position.
Walk In Your Destiny
Every Christian has a God ordained destiny. This destiny is not just a destination, it is a path. In Matthew 7:23 Jesus says, "I never knew you," to some who were prophesying, casting out demons and moving in signs and wonders. The Greek word He used for "know" means "to know intimately." These people were confusing prophesying, casting out demons and moving in signs and wonders as their ultimate destiny. Your ultimate destiny is to intimately know God. You can walk in that reality every day of your life. Are you walking in your destiny?
A second important question is this: Are you open to the prophetic word? The prophetic word is a gift given by God to help us fulfill our God ordained destinies. When the enemy hijacks this gift it can be used to stop us walking in destiny. If this has happened to you it's time to get back on the path. The enemy can only succeed if we let him.
When Elijah was confronted by Jezebel he did the right thing. He ran to Mount Horeb to seek God (1 Kings 19:8). Illegal agendas can be very powerful. We should not underestimate their power. For each situation God has a strategy to bring deliverance, healing and freedom. For me the power of the illegal agenda was broken through the words of another prophet, but it also took time for my trust to be restored.
If you have been the victim of an illegal agenda, find someone who can pray with authority and break its power. Forgive the perpetrator. Break the power of the assignment. But then continue to pursue God until your heart is completely healed from the emotional bruising. This could take some time. Remember, every time we overcome an attack of the enemy we walk in greater authority. The greater the attack we overcome the greater the authority we carry. Many others are set free when we choose to overcome.
"If you have been the victim of an illegal agenda, find someone who can pray with authority and break its power. Forgive the perpetrator. Break the power of the assignment."
PROPHECY AND ILLEGAL AGENDAS
Nathan Shaw helps bring individuals and churches into dynamic encounters with God's indescribable love. Nathan's passion is to equip churches so that they can move in the Spirit, access heavenly realms, encounter God's heart and release His Kingdom on the earth. Over the last twenty years he has been instrumental in ushering in significant moves of the Spirit in over ten different nations. Many have experienced life changing prophetic encounters and dramatic visitations from God. Nathan is the author of two books: Passion and Fire and Unto the Least of These and he is the senior pastor at Fire and Destiny Centre www.fireanddestiny.org, Dunedin and Celebration Church, Mosgiel www.celebrationchurch.xyz.