Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Tan: Celibacy

"The 1950s represent the decade of the evangelists; the 1960s the decade of the pastors; the 1970s the teachers, the 1980s the prophets and the 1990s the apostolic ministries. Each wave that God brings about is not supposed to end, but is supposed to continue through the decades. For example in the 1960s you should see the wave of both pastors and evangelists. The 1970s should have had 3 waves with an emphasis on the teaching ministry. In the 1980s we should have seen 4 major waves and in the 1990s we see all the five fold ministries. But we see there was a distinct continuation of the prophetic wave that started in the 1980s that will mature in the 90s and be associated together with the apostolic move to bring forth the return of Jesus.

Call to Celibacy

As we consider the life of Elijah, we consider the peculiarities that characterise the Elijah wave. In 1 Kings 17: 1 Elijah seemed to appear out of the blue. He had a dramatic beginning and a dramatic ending. We know from 2 Kings 2 how he was taken up into glory above. One of the major peculiarities of the prophetic move that does not apply individually is that many who are called to the prophetic move (those called to the office of a full-fledged prophet in the New Testament age) will at the same time receive a call to a single or celibate life. It is different from the call to the pastoral role because the Bible mentions that the pastor being the husband of one wife and the major portion of his work is in the counselling work. A prophet very seldom does counselling. In fact some prophets are not good at counselling at all and may appear to be brash and harsh. The counselling ministry takes patience and tolerance and a prophet is not called to that.

The prophetic office is associated with a call to celibacy. Many of the prophets like Elijah had to be called to celibacy because of the isolation that they were also called to. A prophet is someone who is called and raised up by God to deliver the rhema word to a generation, a group of people or to an individual. In the New Testament the rhema must conform to the logos (written word). In the Old Testament, the same test of prophecy was there, that it had to be in line with the law of the Pentateuch given to Moses.

Elijah was always alone and always functioned alone. Because of the amount of challenges he brought to the society of his time, he had to be alone. The pressures of the prophetic ministry can be too much for the married lifestyle.

In 1 Cor 7: 26-27 Paul wrote I suppose therefore that this is good because of the present distress - that it is good for a man to remain as he is: Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be loosed. Are you loosed from a wife? Do not seek a wife. Paul is not giving a command, but he says he is giving advice to the Corinthian situation so it does not even apply to the church in general. It was a specific advice given at a specific time to a specific group of people. It was a time of distress, the distress being the hardship, persecution and tribulation that were coming upon the Corinthians and in that context, Paul said it was better not to be married. God knows the purposes and He knows the call He has for different people and celibacy is a peculiarity of the calling for the prophets. In 1 Kings 17, we see the minute Elijah gave the prophecy, he was pursued and chased after for three years. For three years, there was no way he could live a normal life in the ministry.

1 Kings 18: 10, when Elijah came to Obadiah after three years and told him to tell King Ahab that he was there, Obadiah was very frightened because he knew the extent Ahab had been looking for Elijah. Even after 1 Kings 19, in calling down fire and killing the prophets of Baal, straight away he was pursued by Jezebel, and in his pursuit, Elijah experienced all the feelings of one who was called to the single life. You can see that his first situation was loneliness in 1 Kings 19: 14. So God had to provide for him a companion in a different manner, an assistant prophet whom he could train and who would be a companion to him throughout his life.

Another person who apparently had a single life was Daniel the prophet. John the Baptist was another. In fact when you look at the single people in the Bible, they are mostly prophets. That is something in the Word which we cannot ignore. It is a peculiarity in the Elijah wave. More than any other five fold offices, the prophetic office is called to a single life.

What about those who are married? Those who are married need to have special spouses, who are willing to allow a period of isolation. Their relationship with their wives will be different from the normal family life. It will be at a supernatural level. It is possible to be a prophet and to be married but it is more difficult. The choice of the spouse will have to be different, on a higher level than other ministries because other ministries can live a normal life to a certain extent. In ministry, the pastoral ministry is mainly horizontal, that is he deals with people all the time. If he spends time with God, it is mainly that he will be in a position to minister to people. A prophet's relationship is mainly vertical where he is primarily called to receive the word that God has, deliver it and get back in position with God. Therefore he is called to a life of celibacy otherwise he would require a special spouse who understands his office. For example, Enoch was a prophet who gave many prophecies, some of which are recorded in the book of Jude, about the second coming of Jesus. Genesis 5:24, 'And Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him. He was married but he was still able to function as a prophet. It is possible but there could be difficulties as in the case of Samuel.

1 Sam 8: 1-3 'Now it came to pass when Samuel was old that he made his sons judges over Israel. The name of his firstborn was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judges in Beersheba. But his sons did not walk in his ways; they turned aside after dishonest gain, took bribes and perverted justice.'

There are two possible causes for that; firstly, Samuel himself may not have had a good family life. His mother was the second wife and he was given up to be adopted by Eli, the priest. Eli did not have a good family relationship; his sons were corrupted. Therefore Samuel did not really have a family life and what was not put into him, he could not bring it out. The second possible cause is that he did not have enough time with his family. He was too busy and so his sons grew up almost with a father who was always absent. And when his sons grew up, he put them as judges. They could not walk in the same degree as Samuel walked. So there is a danger in the prophetic office if they marry the wrong spouse in which it may be hindered, which is why we are teach the Elijah wave so that people who understand the wave of God will know how to flow into it. If they are called, whether as a prophetess or a prophet there has to be a very special understanding in the family to the amount of time that a person with the office of a prophet needs to spend with God and away from the family. It is almost like the evangelistic office. There is a certain commitment to that too and you are required to move about and away from the family more often than others.

In the New Testament, Luke 2: 36, 'Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity.'

Anna the prophetess was called to the office of a prophet and it seemed that she could not move into the fullness of her ministry until after her husband died. Apparently after her husband's death, she was able to spend more time with God. She was able to give herself to fasting and prayer. She could not be the normal housewife hence she was only able to move fully in the office when she became a widow. Please take this with a pinch of salt; don't misinterpret. If you are called into the prophetic office and are already moving in this office, don't you dare start praying for your spouse to be removed. God has His ways and His time. This teaching is for those who are not yet married and are called to the prophetic office to be very careful when choosing your spouses. There has to be a special understanding that must be taken care of before the marriage takes place. But if you are already married, you cannot do much except to do the best you can of your situation. Although it looks easier for a man who is married to function as a prophet, it is still possible if it is the other way round. For example, in 2 Kings 22: 14 we see that Hulda the prophetess was married. Her husband gave her a lot of time to spend with God and he was the keeper of the wardrobe. Apparently she could just spend her time fasting and praying seeking God and people were able to seek a word from her from the Lord that they needed. King Josiah also sent for her for a word from God.

Although the New Testament prophets are different, that is they only confirm and do not just lead like in the Old Covenant yet it is necessary to be able to get a word from the Lord at any time. That is the prophetic office. Because of that requirement a prophet needs to be given a lot of time with God. A good example is Agung Bangau who had a prophetic mantle upon his life. God used him to start a mighty revival in East Malaysia. He had a special unique relationship with his wife where he would go off to the mountains alone many times. It has to be a unique relationship. That is why we have to put the call to celibacy as the number one characteristic of the Elijah wave. If not, it is a special relationship with a spouse that will give them a lot of time with God.

Call to Prayer and Intercession

The second characteristic of the Elijah wave is that these people will also be strong in prayer and intercession. We hear of the prayer wave which is basically a layman's wave? In this decade, the ministry of intercession enters into what I would call 'fulltime'. Those who enter further into intercession and who have a mantle upon their lives, they enter into the realm of the office of a prophet. The office of a prophet can have three levels. In order to get into the function of it, the gift being free, takes obedience. To reach to this level, the first step you have to take is to enter into it as a consecration unto the Lord. The second step is a strong prayer life. The third step is the prophetic function that you move into. That is why sometimes an intercessor who is strong and who may even move full time into that and who may not have a call to the prophetic office functions in the prophetic gift. But this is more the ministry of prophesying or the gift of prophecy operating and not the office of the prophet. For prayer and prophecy are related to praise and worship.

Step one, consecration to the Lord where their relationship has to be special with their spouses. Step two, the area of prayer where they have entered very deeply or they are creatures of prayer. This is the characteristic of someone who is called into the prophetic office. Some prophetic minister may have taught that some people who are called to the prophetic mantle can see visions even while watching television. Those are exceptional demonstration of the gifting of God but they will not be permanently manifested if the person continues to watch television.

As an example, I knew of the healing anointing the moment I was born again. There was a strong urge and an understanding of the healing anointing, and I began to feel the healing anointing. Today I operate in the word of knowledge, but even before I understood these things, the moment I was born again I sort of know what is going on in another person's life supernaturally even when I did not spend much time in prayer. It would just come. It comes more or less like God telling you, 'Hey, that is the area you are in.' Now if I don't spend much time in prayer, the accuracy of it is not there. To fine-tune it and to make it accurate, we need to spend time with God. It does not mean that if you have the prophetic mantle you can do what you like, like playing baseball and hope to see some visions from God. That teaching is not in line with the Word. Where in the Bible do you find people who had a prophetic mantle who did not spend time with God? Any teaching that is not in line with the written Word of God is completely unacceptable, and any teaching that causes people to be complacent is completely unacceptable because it does not bear fruit. In other words, even though you have an anointing upon you, you don't live off your anointing upon.

From the second characteristic, we know that they have a deep prayer life. It is quite natural for them to go deep into prayer. Instead of being natural to see visions, the other way around is true. It is natural for them to draw unto God. They are naturally at times introverted and are withdrawn through spending a lot of time with God. They would also naturally withdraw from worldly entertainment. I doubt that in our modern era if someone is called to be a prophet that person can function in it if they spend all their time in the wrong things. They will probably live and die without moving into their ministry. They may have their occasional visions three times a year while they are watching baseball. And after some time the gift will become dormant if they continue to live that kind of lifestyle. The truth of it is it is easier for them to move into visions than others because of their mantle and their calling. However, it does not excuse them from spending time with God. Easier is a better word to use rather than to say that they will surely have visions because when you change the word easier to surely then it moves into a wrong teaching completely. But when you use easier it is a balanced way of putting it, which is understandable.

In James 5, it is written on the life of Elijah who was a great prophet, a great person, a great man of prayer. James 5: 17 is before 1 Kings 17: 1. Elijah spent lots of time praying. Later on through his life, you can see his statement that he is Elijah who stands in the presence of God. This statement is usually said of angels. The amount of time he spent in prayer is the second characteristic of a prophetic wave, the Elijah wave. For these people one hour of prayer is nothing, two hours is peanuts, three hours maybe common. So when someone has this kind of calling, don't judge them according to the norm. For them being normal can mean three to four hours with God daily. Sometimes parents panicked when their children get turned on to God, especially when their children have a prophetic mantle on their lives. The parents think their children are no longer normal when the children do not go out and play football like the other children but they just go and pray. The normal life in the world is a sinful life. What God has is that everyone has a special life. We have a special call and a special destiny that we must govern our lives according to the book that is written about us and fulfil it. In fulfilling your destiny, you may be peculiar to people. People may misunderstand you but this should not matter, for the real judgement is up there. Therefore just make sure your life is in line with the book written up there about your life. The tremendous peculiarity is the amount of time you need to spend with God in your prayer if you have a prophetic mantle.

Prophet Daniel had the same emphasis in Daniel 6: 10 as was his custom since early days. Apparently Daniel had a very religious and devout habit. It is from such that draws from God a prophetic mantle. People like William Branham was always out in the woods somewhere with no other form of entertainment except for going out into the woods to spend time with God. It is peculiar to all those called to the Elijah wave.

Let us look at John the Baptist in Luke 1: 80, 'So the child grew and became strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his manifestation for Israel…' And where was he? He was in the deserts. He was an unusual child, unlike other children who liked to be in the streets, but he liked to be in the deserts. Can you imagine John the Baptist growing up with the kind of peer pressure that he had? He loved to be alone. Imagine your playmate suddenly disappearing into the deserts and growing up, and later coming back clothed in camel skin and crying out, 'Repent'? This man who was once your neighbour, was strange to other people because he was a Nazarite. As a teenager, John the Baptist would say, 'Well, I have a call in my life and this is the covenant my parents have made with God and which I have made with God too.' He is special, unique. A Nazarite is looked on as someone very peculiar. How would you like if someone who is dressed in sheepskin or camel skin and all he does is to be alone and pray and when you and your friends visit him in his house, he just sits there praying?

It is sad when the body of Christ does not understand prophets. We should be giving them room to develop. Just as country folks are different from city folks where city folks are used to smaller space area, so prophets need lots of space and we need to give them lots of room to function in, for them to come up. That is why people who are called to the prophetic office have most problems with pastors and with organized ministries. They are unique in themselves and we need to understand the Elijah wave.

Intensity of Emotions

The third characteristic of the prophetic ministry is the intensity of emotion. A prophet tends to be emotionally intense. And he needs the help of music. Music is the international language that reaches beyond normal languages. It reaches into the depths of the soul. The prophetic wave will be stronger in the Feast of Trumpets when the wave of worship comes forth. In 2 Kings 3: 14, 15 we see the prophetic mantle relying a lot on music and the element of worship, and this is not necessarily a music piece that was sung or just that atmosphere of music they can thrive in. in the book of 1 Samuel we see many occurrences of prophets gathering together to worship the Lord, for example 1 Samuel 10: 5. Music and prophecy go together. In 1 Chronicles 25: 1-6 you would notice that they would prophesy with the harp and timbrel. Music moves in the right brain function. When you are listening to music your right brain is activated in the dianoia (Greek word for imagination), which is the visual part. The prophet is in a sense more right brained. In the natural a person who is skillfull in words is more left brained but musicians and artists are more right brained. In the spiritual sense prophets lean more towards the dianoia than others because they need to reach into the spirit realm and the only way to keep that realm active is through music and worship. They need to rely on constant music of the right choice. That is the third characteristic - they are very inclined to music. In fact for some of them they need it all the time. That would mean that there are other sub areas because is an area that can evoke deep feelings, and deep emotional intensity.

This can also be a person's weakness as the person can be highly sensitive and finds it hard to relate to people. If you are experienced in life you know that in order to have good relationships with people you must be compassionate but not too sensitive. If you are too sensitive you may have a problem of reacting to every little word uttered by people when they do not really mean any harm. You need a high level of tolerance. The more tolerant you are, the more able you are to accept others as they are. Prophets tend to be highly sensitive which explains why many prophets cannot relate well to people and they end up not being accepted and for some of them their ministries are not promoted because of bad relationships with people. We need to understand the emotional aspect of a prophet's life, which can be highly explosive, but yet when they bring the word of the Lord it is a good word.

However, outside of their ministry they may not be the average jolly good fellows whom you like. In fact you may never like them but you like their prophecies. That is a prophet's life. Now that does not have to be their lot in life. That is why it is necessary for 5 fold ministries to fellowship with one another so that the prophet can learn a little bit of the diplomacy of a pastor and a pastor can learn a little bit from the prophetic isolation that is necessary for their ministry. Some people are so horizontal that they need to be with people all the time. They do not know how to be alone anymore while others are so alone that they do not know how to be comfortable with others. We need a balance.

Openness to the Spirit World

The fourth perspective of the Elijah wave is the constant relation to the spirit world. Prophets will constantly be seeing angels and spiritual visions until it is commonplace. To an average person seeing an angel means an experience of a life time but to the prophet it is normal to see angels walking around, to see into the spiritual realm and to walk into that realm as if that realm is the only realm they live in. they are very visual and are always relating to the spirit world. Elijah in his entire life seemed to relate to one or two main angels. In 2 Kings 1: 13-15, the angel was apparently there with him all the time. When the angel told him to go down with the captain then only did Elijah go. This prophet related so closely with the spiritual world that talking to angels is like talking to human beings. He listened to his angel. He heard from his angels. In his time of despair and discouragement this angel fed him and took care of him, 1 Kings 19: 6,7. The angel fed him twice and even cooked for him. If an ordinary Christian were to wake up and see an angel who says to him, 'Arise and eat' he will be staring at the angel in awe. But when the angel said to Elijah, 'Eat', he ate and with the angel still standing there, he fell asleep. A normal Christian after eating would be talking with the angel asking 101 questions about the spirit world. As for Elijah it was as if he was used to seeing the angels. He related to the angel quite naturally. In the same way other prophets would do the same. It may be angels, our Lord Jesus or any area of the spirit world, these would become natural to them. Seeing the spirit world does not necessarily need special prayers. It becomes easier for them when they are at their full function. It was said that for William Branham to function in the office of a prophet he always needed to wait till the angel came. He always needed to see the angel. Can you imagine the need to see an angel every time you minister? That is the prophetic office. He needed to wait until the angel appeared to him before he could minister the gift of God that he was supposed to minister in. The close resemblance in experience is amazing.

We can then understand point one and point two better, because in order to live in that level you need that kind of isolation and we can understand why prophets are the way they are. When the spirit world becomes natural with you, you become peculiar to the natural world. You begin to see things that are not there, you talk about things that are not there. You could be in the midst of a conversation and you could see or sense something in the spirit that the normal person does not sense and therefore your countenance change according to what you sense or what you picked up.

Working in Groups

The fifth point is an area which will take place and is already taking place. The Elijah wave of the decade of the 90s will gather together as a group. The school of prophets have always been in existence among prophets. Because of their isolation prophets need more than other ministries to relate to those of the same office. An evangelist can function alone but very few prophets can survive permanently alone. If you are seeing the spirit world all the time there will be many times you are wondering whether you yourself are queer and to meet another one who experiences the same is an encouragement and it strengthens your call. There are many schools of prophets that have started but they are not exactly what God wants. The school of prophets are only for 5 fold office prophets, not for the ministry of prophecy, or for the normal gift of prophecy. Many people start the school pf prophets just to teach about prophecy. This is not what the school of prophets originally was. The school of prophets is for the fellowship of prophets. A school of prophets today is just a seminar or bible school that teaches on prophecy. This is just what it is. It is open to all Christians who have the gift of prophecy or leaning towards it and there may be many prophets drawn to it. But the school of prophets in the Bible was a fellowship and an association of full-fledged prophets. In 1 Samuel 10: 5, there was a group of full-fledged prophets and not just a group of people. It was not, in a sense a Bible school for all. It was an association and fellowship of fellow prophets. A prophet's field of vision tends to be narrow and if he does not have other prophets seeing other narrow pieces, he cannot have the whole jewel. A prophet needs other prophets otherwise he would think that is the only word there is by virtue of his office. There were priests in those days but they were possibly excluded. It had to be a school for prophets that God had appointed and anointed. For example if you call a meeting of pastors who have churches, they would discuss things different from those whom you call from a pastoral training seminar, people who are called but have not yet entered into the pastoral office.

The real school of prophets in the Bible was a permanent association that came about because of the need of the prophetic office to function in groups. You will notice in the New Testament, in the book of acts that prophets never functioned alone. The full-fledged prophets needed to team up with other prophets to give the right perspective and slant. Acts 11: 27 prophets (in plural) came to Antioch. They always travel in groups and always draw encouragement from one another. New Testament prophets deliver the word in the same power as the Old Testament prophets as seen in Acts 21: 10, except that in the New Testament, they can say, 'thus says the Holy Spirit.' In the Old Testament they say, 'thus says the Lord but it is a different thing now. They can say, 'thus says the Holy Spirit' and have the same impact and same power. Here Agabus was alone and when he was alone he was also a little confused about his prophecy (Acts 21:2). Possibly Agabus may have been among those who told Paul not to go. Sometimes a prophet can deliver a prophecy that he does not fully understand. For Paul knew he needed to go. Now supposing you are a prophet and have received a prophecy for somebody that there is danger for him. Your mental impression would be that the person should not go. For example I am on my way to South America and you have received a prophecy for me that there is going to be hardship, difficulties and danger. Maybe you saw a vision of a plane crashing down. You come and tell me that. What would be your interpretation of your own prophecy? Do not go. That is how many prophets will end up when they function alone. They end up not just giving but interpreting and applying prophecies. Paul, who was in the perfect will of God heard from God. Paul knew what he was supposed to do, what he was going to do and he told all these guys and said, 'Keep it aside, I have to go where God wants me to go.' Some preachers even said Paul went against God's will. This is not true because when he was in that place Jesus appeared to him and told Paul to be there until he was brought to Rome. Paul was in the perfect will of God, but when a prophet functions alone he tends to interpret his prophecies his own way.

There is a danger in functioning alone. I have met many different prophets and some of them have different words about this nation and about revival. I have found many prophets, true prophets, who have what I call a narrow vision. They sonly see a part of something. I know of a prophet who talks about hardship to come and he concluded by telling the people to leave the country. Now there may be some justification there but you need other ministries to come in to give a clearer perspective of the picture. If prophets were to function together they would be able to check each other. Prophets by nature need acceptance. Therefore if they have an association or fellowship of prophets, which may not be an organised one but an unofficial one where the prophets could call up one another and get together from time to time to check with each other. Otherwise they will receive 'funny' words and interpretations that go way off the picture.

Can you imagine, if Paul had listened to them he would have been out of God's will. So I would gather that Agabus was among those who tried to persuade Paul not to go. It is dangerous when a prophet functions alone, which is why even a great man like William Branham went astray. He went astray in the 1960s when he began to think that he was the only prophet and would not listen to any other ministers. He died in a car accident after teaching some weird doctrines that were not of God. It took another prophet who happened to be Kenneth Hagin who came to Gordon Lindsay and said that God was going to remove William Branham. It was a case of a prophet against another prophet. Gordon Lindsay wrote that down in his diary, and it came to pass. Shortly within a year William Branham died.

Prophets do check on each other - 1 Cor 14: 29. prophets judge prophets. Prophets must come together so that when two or three prophets speak they can judge one another, because prophets deal in the area of the spoken word, the rhema which many times the Word is silent. For example you receive a word about a country and you do not have a specific scripture about that country. You are dealing with areas that are outside the Bible. Where is the check? When it is totally against the written Word we know it is off, but yet there are many things that are not off and yet they are unwritten. This is the reason why Paul said let two or three prophets speak and let the others judge. Now if a prophet is not willing to be judges by another prophet you will know that the person is not fully functioning in the area that God wants. If is quite understandable when you deal with the realm of the spirit and the high emotional intensity you need checks all the time. You need to be kept on the ground by others so that you would not be lost in the area of wrong perspective.

These are the five major characteristics of the Elijah wave that we need to take note of, for those who are called into that area and for those who are not called we need to understand these five so that we can give room for the Elijah wave to flow with the prophet's office. Many times I find people tend to be judgemental on a prophet's character and personality which many times are undeveloped although they have a solid ministry. We do not want to miss what God has brought to the Body of Christ just because of a person's queer personality. Despite their personality quirks God sometimes uses them to bring an important word to the Body of Christ.

~ ~ ~

On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen
All day and all night they will never keep silent
You who remind the LORD, take no rest for yourselves;
And give Him no rest until He establishes
And makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth

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