responsibility of a prophet is to bring direction and correction
to their Church, but God may raise some prophets up to be a
Prophet to the Nation. Many of the prophets of the Old Testament
found themselves confronting kings, and taking an important role
in national affairs. Some also addressed their words to foreign
nations. They demonstrate the ministry of the Prophet to the
A thousand or ten thousand ordinary
priests or pastors or teachers could labour quietly on almost
unnoticed while the spiritual life of Israel or the church was
normal. But let the people of God go astray from the paths of
truth and immediately the specialist appeared almost out of
nowhere. His instinct for trouble brought him to the help of
the Lord and of Israel. Such a man was likely to be drastic,
radical, possibly at times violent, and the curious crowd that
gathered to watch him work soon branded him as extreme,
fanatical, negative. And in a sense they were right.
single-minded, severe, fearless, and these were the qualities
the circumstances demanded. He shocked some, frightened others
and alienated not a few, but he knew who had called him and
what he was sent to do. His ministry was geared to the
emergency, and that fact marked him out as different, a man
apart. To such men as this the church owes a debt too heavy to
pay. The curious thing is that she seldom tries to pay him
while he lives, but the next generation builds his sepulchre
and writes his biography, as if instinctively and awkwardly to
discharge an obligation the previous generation to a large
extent ignored (Leonard Ravenhill - Why Revival Tarries).
Times of Transformation
A Prophet to the Nation releases Godís
hand of power. We are living in a time of transformation, when Godís
purposes will be accomplished through "shaking" and
judgement. The ministry of the prophet is very important at these
times, because God cannot act, without first giving a warning
through his prophets.
Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing
without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets (Amos
God cannot shake a nation until he has
announced it through his prophets. There are two reasons for this.
God is merciful and always gives people
an opportunity to repent, before he sends judgement on a
nation. God would be happier if he did not have to shake the
nation, he gives a warning, hoping that his people will put
things right. But if the warning is not heeded, God has no
alternative but to act himself.
Any shaking event must be recognised as
coming from the hand of God. If a judgement is seen as just a
normal event, it can be ignored. An event that has been
announced beforehand by Godís servants is obviously a work
of God and its meaning will be clear. The fact that it has
been announced beforehand by Godís servant will be proof
that it is a work of God.
Prophetic activists and national
apostasy are often associated (Milton Smith).
The prophet knows what time it is,
knows what kind of time it is. He holds prophetic
understanding of the mentality and mood of this present time.
He identifies and knows the trends of a society by looking at
its roots. He is able to analyse trends and upcoming events by
judging foundations. His words are a force against the
mentality of the day (Lars Widerburg - The Forthtellers).
Sin inevitably brings divine
judgement. Jerusalem the Holy City collapses, not because the
enemy was stronger but because God decreed it. The fall of
Jerusalem is represented as a divine judgement against sin.
Human rebellion against God, not weakness caused the collapse
of the Holy City (Milton Smith).
The story of Abimelech contrasts three different methods of
bringing political change (Judges 9). The first two methods bring
Abimelech was elected by a democratic process, but he did
great harm to the people of Shechem. This incident is a timely
reminder that democracy gives power to the wrong people. The
skills needed to get ahead in politics are pragmatism, arrogance
and a light hand on the truth. These are very different from the
skills needed by a good judge.
Rebelling against an evil leader will usually fail, because
violence produces violence. A person capable of rebellion is also
capable of being a dictator.
Now Gaal son of Ebed moved with his brothers into Shechem, and
its citizens put their confidence in himÖ. Then Gaal son of Ebed
said, "Who is Abimelech, and who is Shechem, that we should
be subject to him? If only this people were under my command! Then
I would get rid of him. I would say to Abimelech, 'Call out your
whole army!' (Jud 9:26,28,29).
Gaal led a rebellion, but the and those who followed him were
destroyed (Jud 9:38-41)
Prophetic proclamation is the best way to remove a bad
government. When a prophet voice speaks Godís judgment against
an evil ruler, God will honour that word and bring sanctions
against the wicked person. Jothan, the youngest brother escaped
and prophesied against Abimelech and the people of Shechem.
If then you have acted honorably and in good faith Ö may
Abimelech be your joy, and may you be his, too! But if you have
not, let fire come out from Abimelech and consume you, citizens of
Shechem and Beth Millo, and let fire come out from you, citizens
of Shechem and Beth Millo, and consume Abimelech!" (Jud
God honoured this prophetic word.
After Abimelech had governed Israel three years, God sent an
evil spirit between Abimelech and the citizens of Shechem, who
acted treacherously against Abimelech (Jud 9:22,23).
Abimelech was removed by prophecy.
Thus God repaid the wickedness that Abimelech had doneÖ. God
also made the men of Shechem pay for all their wickedness. The
curse of JothamÖ came on them (Jud 9:56,57).
Modern Christians place a lot of faith in democracy, even
though it does not produce godly government. Others have tried
rebellion, but this has failed too.
Prophetic proclamation is the best way to get rid of an evil
government. Unfortunately, belief that God can bring governments
down is rare. The missing element is a strong prophetic voice to
release Godís power to bring political change.
Prophets and Tyranny
One reason that tyranny has been so
serious in the twentieth century is the lack of prophets in the
nations. There have been no prophets challenging political rulers
to obey the law of God. Many rulers do not even know that they are
required to serve God, or that he has put limits on their
jurisdiction. God can only act against evil rulers, if he has a
prophet to speak out his challenge and warn of his judgements.
Surely the Sovereign LORD does
nothingwithout revealing his plan to his servants the prophets
God will not bring sanctions against
wicked rulers unless their sins are clearly understood.
God does not like to send judgement
against the leaders of a nation, unless his prophets have
announced it. If prophets have not announced the judgement in
advance, the rulers will not understand that it was sent by God.
They will not realise that the calamity is the consequence of
their sins. They will assume that it is just another tragic event.
Some rulers may even use the trouble to expand their powers. If
judgement is not announced in advance by the prophets, its purpose
is diffused or lost.
Isaiah 16 describes a number of kings and
tyrants, who were brought down from the place of pride and power
by the shaking of God. He gave relief from suffering and cruel
bondage by destroying the aggressive and oppressive rulers. God
was able to stretch forth his hand and accomplish his purpose,
because prophets like Isaiah had prophesied against them (Isaiah
The worst thing that can happen to a
nation is the have no prophets. Psalm 74 is the cry of a people
suffering under tyranny.
We are given no miraculous signs; no
prophets are left, and none of us knows how long this will be.
How long will the enemy mock you, O God? Will the foe revile
your name forever? Why do you hold back your hand, your right
hand? Take it from the folds of your garment and destroy them!
The Psalmist feels like his nation is in a
hopeless situation. It is being ruled by tyrants and Godís hand
of judgement against this injustice is being held back. The
Psalmist knows that God has power to destroy the wicked ruler, but
while there are no prophets this is unlikely to happen.
This lack of prophets is a still a problem
in the modern world. Prophets to the nation will have to emerge in
the church first, but the modern church has been unwilling to
release this gift in the church. The prophetic ministry has been
stifled in the church, so prophets to the nation have been unable
to develop. The absence of the prophetic ministry has impoverished
the church, but it has had even more serious consequences for the
world. Tyrants have been able to rule with impunity, as Godís
hand of judgement has been held back, hidden his garment, the
Restraining the Sword
The sword is dangerous and the political
sphere will always tend to expand. People with political power
will always see new problems to solve and their people will often
expect them to solve them. Rulers will always face the temptation
to expand their power. Pressure to do more good is dangerous,
because the state can use force to expand its role. This is a
great dilemma for political theory. The state needs force to
punish criminals and protect society. However, this monopoly of
force makes it almost impossible for citizens to prevent their
government from expanding its power. We cannot resist the state,
because it is stronger than we are.
History suggests that this is a serious
problem. Throughout the twentieth century, the power of the state,
whether dictator or democracy, has increased immensely. Even where
political powers start out with modest intentions, they seem to
end up with more power and control. Democracy does not prevent
this from happening, but tends to make the situation worse. It
tends to produce leaders who pander to the desires of the people
by expanding political power. The United States constitution was
carefully designed to limit political power, but the United States
government has now amassed incredible power over its citizens.
The only antidote to the expanding state
is Christian prophets proclaiming the law in partnership with God.
When the church is functionally correctly, God will raise up
prophets to the nation, who can speak his word to its rulers.
These prophets will confront their rulers, whenever they take up
power and responsibility that does not belong to them. Biblical
law sets out the boundaries on the power of the state.
The Prophets of God will challenge any
political ruler who takes powers that are not authorised by the
law. If the rulers do not heed these warnings, the prophets will
announce Godís judgement against them. If the rulers then
persist in taking power that God has not given to them, they will
experience his judgement. If they will not voluntarily shrink
their power to the size specified by Godís law, he will cut them
down to size. The law and the prophets are the key to limiting the
power of the state (Rom 3:21).
This earth belongs to the Lord, so all
rulers are his servants. They do not have absolute power, but
exercise delegated power given to them by God. If they take power
that has not been delegated to them, they are in rebellion against
him. When a ruler ignores Godís will, the prophets will warn of
Godís judgement. If the rulers refuse to surrender to God, they
can expect his sanctions to fall upon them. The best restraint on
the power of the sword is the power of the trumpet.
A good example of this restraining power is recorded in 1 Kings
About that time Jeroboam was going out of Jerusalem, and
Ahijah the prophet of Shiloh met him on the way, wearing a new
cloak. The two of them were alone out in the country, and Ahijah
took hold of the new cloak he was wearing and tore it into
twelve pieces. Then he said to Jeroboam, "Take ten pieces
for yourself, for this is what the LORD, the God of Israel,
says: 'See, I am going to tear the kingdom out of Solomon's hand
and give you ten tribes.
Solomon had rejected God by taking foreign wives to form
alliances with foreign nations. Ahijah the prophet announced Godís
judgement against Solomon. This resulted in his son Rehoboam
losing most of the kingdom to another king.
Crisis and Hope
In the troubled times that lie ahead many
people will have their hope shattered. The plans and the projects
to which they have given their lives will collapse. Often they
will feel as if God has abandoned them. The nations will need
prophets who can give new vision in these times of shaking.
We must recognise the danger of
despair that comes with extinguishing dreams. In the troubled
times that lie ahead many will believe that their dreams have
died. Theologically they will believe that God has abandoned
them. If the church in our time is to avoid despair we must
construct the new vision of Godís presence in the midst of
our judgement (Bruce Bint).
With the shattering changes
-political, economic and technological -that have been thrust
upon the twentieth century world it is a small wonder that the
generation facing the close of the second millennium and
peering uncertainly into the uncharted waters of the twenty
first century are crying out for divine guidance (Clifford
Hill - Prophecy, Past and Present p.281).
God raises special people for special
the times dictate the strength of Godís hand upon the person
Prophets will explain how God is at work
in what appears to be a disaster. And because prophets can see
what lies ahead, they will be able to give direction and hope for
Prophets arise in times of crisis.
Their message is always relevant to the contemporary
situation. The encounter with prophecy is always at the
frontier of the social and religious. The factors that give
rise to prophecy are always both sociological and religious.
(Clifford Hill - Prophecy, Past and Present p. 20).
When Israel was in trouble and needed a
deliverer, God sent a prophet.
They (Midian) invaded the land to
ravage it. Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they
cried out to the Lord for help. When the Israelites cried to
the Lord because of Midian, he sent them a prophet (Jud
Building faith and hope is one of the
functions of the prophetic gift. Jeremiah was able to obey God
in the midst of troubling circumstances because he had been
given a picture of the future (Chuck Pierce - The Future War
of the Church).
A prophet to the nation is a person who
speaks on behalf of God. Peter said that prophecy never had its
origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were
carried along by the Holy Spirit (2 Pet 1:20,21).
Above all, you must understand that no
prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own
interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will
of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by
the Holy Spirit.
They were moved by the Spirit, so they
could speak in the name of the Lord.
When calling Jeremiah, God said he would
puts his words in the prophetís mouth. The Lord said to him,
You must go to everyone I send you to
and say whatever I command youÖ I have put my words in your
mouth. Jer 1:7,9
A prophet is a person with the gift of
a keen ability to hear from God. They have a finely tuned
ability to hear Godís voice (Noel Woodlock).
The same point is made in Deuteronomy
I will raise up a prophetÖ I will
put my words in his mouth and he will tell them everything
that I command him.
A prophet speaks in obedience to the Lord.
He says only what God tells him to say. He brings Godís word to
the church and the world. Ezekiel described this as the Lordís
hand being upon him.
The hand of the Lord was upon me (Ezek
The prophet was primarily a man of the
word of God. His task was to bring the word of God to his
fellow man (J A Motyer-Prophets and Prophecy).
The prophet of God was thus the
mouthpiece of God. He was Godís messenger whose task was to
deliver whatever God said to him. He was not simply a holy
man, nor was he a man with a mission to reform the world or to
accomplish any particular task of religious teaching or
leadership. The Prophet was simply a "mouthpiece"
(Clifford Hill - Prophecy, Past and Present p.25).
A prophet is a divine spokesperson. To
speak prophetically is to speak by divine inspiration. It is
the presentation of Godís message for an individual, group,
nation, or generation. It may bring direction, correction,
warning, encouragement, or instruction (John Bevere - Thus
Saith the Lord p.2).
The picture of the prophet that
emerges from the pages of Scripture and the early church
writings is impressive. Rather than a mere mouthpiece who
passively responds when god picks him up, the prophet is a
conscious agent of God, gifted by God to be an envoy, a
watchman and bearer of royal authority. (Bruce Yocum -
If we are to arrive at a proper
conception of the function of to "nabhi", we must
look elsewhere than to philology. We must examine the actual
usage of the word in the Old Testament, and from such usage
seek to determine what it meant. In Deuteronomy 18:18b the
essential nature of the prophetic function is clearly set
forth; "... and I shall place my words in his mouth and
he will speak unto them all which I command him." Here
the function of the prophet is that of declaring the word.
Precisely this same thought also appears in the classic text,
God declared even before his birth,
Jeremiah had been sanctified and had been set apart to be a
nabhi. Immediately upon hearing this announcement, Jeremiah
cries that he does not know how to speak. Evidently Jeremiah,
as soon as he hears that he is to be a nabhi thinks of
speaking, and complains that he is unable to fulfil the
function of a nabhi namely, speaking. To his mind the word
nabhi called up immediately the connotation of speaking.
Jeremiah was to be a nabhi therefore he would have to speak
(Edward J Young - My servants the Prophets p.59)
The definitions of the different Greek
and Hebrew words translated "prophet" in the Old and
New Testaments reveal that this ministry is one that speaks
for God, has immediate intercourse with God, is an interpreter
of the oracles of God, and preaches the counsel of God. These
are all indicative of the awesome seriousness of prophetic
ministry. To speak for god and interpret of preach his counsel
is a responsibility of unfathomable proportions to be
entrusted to mere men (Rick Joyner - The Prophetic Ministry).
A prophet is defined more by a willingness
to speak than an ability to hear. Every Christians should be able
to hear God. However, only a few have the courage and boldness to
speak everything that God wants spoken. Prophets have a special
sense of the heart and burdens of God. They are committed to the
truth. They are willing to speak Godís word, regardless of the
cost. God needs prophets who will speak his work fearlessly,
without regard to the consequences.
You must speak my words to them,
whether they listen or fail to listen (Ezek 2:7).
They developed a keen sense of Godís
presence and knew when he wanted to speak to his people. They
sensed his moods and his burdens of heart, even before they
knew exactly what they were feeling. It was wonderful, but it
also confused them because they often felt squeezed between
what God wanted to do and the religious routine going on about
them (Stephen L Mansfield Ė Pastoring the Prophetic).
The task of the prophet to the nation is
also demonstrated in
the relationship between Moses and Aaron. Moses was not a good
speaker, so God said Aaron would be his "prophet". He
explained what this would mean.
You shall speak to him and put words
in his mouthÖ. He will speak to the people for you, and it
will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him
In this passage Aaron clearly appears
as the mediator between Moses and Pharaoh. Moses stands in
relation to Pharaoh as god to the people, and the message of
Moses is given to Pharaoh by means of Aaron. Here again the
function of the Prophet is that of speaking forth a message
which has been received from a superior (Edward J Young - My
Servants the Prophets p.58)
Prophet for the Season
Every prophet is different and unique. We
should not try to put them all into the same mould. God always has
the right person for the time and situation.
God has always had his specialists
whose chief concern had been moral breakdown, the decline in
the spiritual health of the nation or the church. Such men
were Elijah, Jeremiah, Malachi, and others of their kind who
appeared at critical moments in history to reprove rebuke and
exhort in the name of God and righteousness (A W Tozer.).
Jeremiah was Godís man for a nation
flying apart (David Pawson Jeremiah).
The institution of prophecy, therefore
is to be regarded as a gift of God. It is he who raised up the
prophets and gave them their messages. They were not merely
men of religious genius, nor did they appear because Israel
was a particularly religious nation. (Edward J Young - My
servants the Prophets p.36)
George Wishart was believed by his
contemporaries to have spoken under the influence of prophetic
inspiration. John Knox says, " He was not only singularly
learned, as well in Godly knowledge as in all honest human
science, but he was also so clearly illumined with the spirit
of prophecy, that he not only saw not only pertaining to
himself, but also such things as some towns and the whole
realm afterward felt, which he spoke not in secret but in the
audience of many (Torrance).
In this connection we must remember
that the entire prophetic institution was a gift from God. It
was not an expression of the religious nature of the people,
but a Divine gift. The prophets were raised up of God: they
did not emerge from the national religious consciousness. As
the spokesman of God they uttered their messages wherever God
commanded them to do so (Edward J Young - My Servants the
Eyes of the Nation
There is a watching aspect to the ministry
of a prophet. In fact one of the words for prophet is the Hebrew
Formerly in Israel, if a man went to
inquire of God, he would say, "Come, let us go to the
seer," because the prophet of today used to be called a
seer (1 Sam 9:9)
Seers are men of revelation. Seers are
men of enlightenment. Seers are men of intellectual maturityÖ.
The prophet is a seer. The basic nature of his commission is
observation and watchfulness. He is prone to contemplation and
skilled in the art of deduction (Lars Widerberg - The Seer).
Isaiah described the prophets as the
"eyes" of or nation.
The Lord has brought over you a deep
He has sealed your eyes (the prophets);
he has covered your heads (the seers). (Is 29:10).
Balaam was a false prophet, yet the Lord
used him when the Spirit came on him. He said some good things
about how a prophet needs to have his eyes opened to see what God
The oracle of Balaam son of Beor, the
oracle of one whose eye sees clearly, the oracle of one who
hears the words of God, who sees a vision from the Almighty,
who falls prostrate, and whose eyes are opened: (Num 24:4)
Prophets are people of vision, who can see
what God is doing. They co-operate with God in breaking down all
that is not built on the true foundation. They do this by
announcing his judgements. At the same time they watch over all
that God is doing in the nation to see that it is built according
to his Word.
The prophet does not confuse truth
with consensus. The prophet does not confuse Godís word with
the word of those who happen to hold power at present, or with
the opinion of the majority. This is because powerholders and
the majority can fall victim to a lying spiritóand this
means a power that actually seizes the majority of experts,
the political leadership, and the public (Michael Welker God
the Spirit Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1994, p.88).
Nations and Encouragment
Personal prophecy should be mostly
encouragement. A problem occurs when a person who is
fluent with the gift of prophecy and experienced with personal
prophecy moves up to the role of prophet to a church or nation.
This problem is more serious with prophecies to a city or nation
or state. These entities have a strong tendency to turn away from
God, so they rarely need encouragement and mostly need warning and
correction. Christians living within them need a clear trumpet
sound, so they know what they should do.
If the trumpet makes an uncertain
who will prepare for battle? (1 Cor 15:8).
To often, Christianís who have learned
their craft bring encouragement in personal prophecies try to step
up and bring prophecies to their nation. If they do not understand
the difference and make a transition to the different level of
operation, they will often bring spiritual warm fuzzies when the
nation really needs a clear trumpet call.
In a prophecy to any nation, at least a
couple of the following questions should be answered.
What is going on in this nation?
Has the season changed?
What do the people of the nation or its
leaders need to do to turn things around?
What is God doing in the nation?
What do the people of God need to do,
to be a part of what the Lord is doing?
Some will be surprised that none of these
questions refer to predictions about the future? The truth is that
I would sooner know what God is doing now and what his people
should be doing now, than what will happen in the future.
Knowing who will be the next President
will not help us at all, if we do not understand what is happening
in the nation that has caused God to give us that particular
Most prophecies for a nation on the
internet do not measure up. They just carry on the encouragement
model that is typical of personal prophecy. This will provide
plenty of spiritual warm fuzzies, but a clear trumpet call is
rare. Choosing to speak for God is a serious business. He is
not honoured by spiritual mush.
God calls does not call
Christians to be "moral campaigners". The Pharisees were
the moral campaigners of Jesus time. They loved to find fault with
the weak and sinful people in their society, but Jesus criticised
them for their lack of mercy and their spiritual blindness. He
showed mercy to those trapped in the grip of sin.
The Pharisees got things all
wrong. They could not see their own sin, so they seemed like
hypocrites. They dealt harshly with weak people who had been
seduced by a culture of sin and were not clever enough to hide it,
but missed the far more serious sins of societyís leaders. They
focused on obvious sexual sins, but were blinded to the more
deceptive sins that open the nation to evil. This should be a
serious warning to those who campaign against sin.
God does not need moral
campaigners, but he does call a few of his people to speak
prophetically to the nation. These prophets will remind the nation
of Godís standards and warn of the consequences for society. A
key part of their role is to identify the core evils that are the
root of their societyís problems. They will not be obsessed with
the more obvious sexual sins, but will focus on the subtle shifts
in attitude that creep in and open the door to real evil. They
will know that the sins of their political and cultural leaders
are usually well hidden, but are really dangerous to society.
True prophets will be concerned
about devious and influential sins, like pride, selfishness and
"state idolatry". They will be less concerned about
sexual sins, as these generally only emerge when other more subtle
sins have already taken hold in society. Blatant sexual sin is a
symptom of a sick world, but is not the root cause. Prophets to
their nationwill be more concerned about the cause than the
symptoms. They will focus on the issues that are really damaging
Focus on the Cause not the Symptom
Much modern prophecy is very shallow. Real
prophets go deep to the heart of an issue. They are not distracted
by surface issues and symptoms that that are not the real cause of
what is happening. Prophets press in deeper until they get to the
crux of the issues that are shaping the heart of their nation.
Abortion is an example of this problem.
Most Christians realise that abortion is a terrible sin. Some get
really stirred up about it, but this prevents them from seeing the
real issues affecting their nation. Abortion is not a legal issue,
but a manifestation of a much deeper spiritual malaise. Something
is seriously wrong with the spirit of nation when many young women
feel compelled to destroy their future (their children).
Prophetic people are wasting energy when
they attempt to make abortion illegal, because banning abortion
deals with the symptoms of the problem, but does not change the
underlying cause that is rooted deep in the culture. The prophetic
task is to expose the cracks in the heart of the nations that are
manifesting through abortion. The solution is not a change in the
law, but deep-seated repentance, a renewed world view, and
powerful healing by God.
Abortion is just one manifestation of an
impaired spirit. The Left Behind phenomena is another
manifestation of the same core blemish. Many Christians have lost
confidence in the future and are looking to Jesus to come and
rescue them soon. They have no confidence in the ability of the
Holy Spirit to establish the Kingdom of God. This lack of faith
puts them in danger of being cut off from their future, just as
the young woman who has an abortion cuts off her own future.
Abortion and rapture obsession are manifestation of the same
Many Christians are stirred up about
homosexual marriage, but again they are focussing on the symptoms
and not the root cause. Christian prophets will realise that
homosexuality is a symptom and not the real crack in the heart of
Ezekiel understood this issue well. When
he describing the sin of Sodom, this is what he said.
Now this was the sin of your sister
Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and
unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy (Ezekiel
Sodomís root sin was not homosexuality,
but arrogance, laziness and refusal to care for the poor. It seems
that when a society makes and idol of comfort and pleasure, it
descends into a promiscuity that eventually manifests in
homosexuality. What Lot found in Sodom was just the natural
outcome for a society that worshipped comfort and wealth.
Lot saw the symptoms of the problem and
like many Christian was upset about what he saw. Ezekiel looked
much deeper and realised that the key issue was a love of comfort
and pleasure. We need more prophets like Elijah who can see deep
into the heart of our nation.
Prophets to their nation must
remain humble, so they are not corrupted by their close link with
the state. The scriptures have strong words against the
"court prophets" who support everything that a ruler
does, but do not listen to what God is saying. Prophets to the
nation must also be careful to remain in the place where God has
planted them. Because, they understand the art of government, they
might be tempted to enter politics. However, prophets have a
responsibility to speak Godís word, so they must not usurp the
role of the king. This would be dangerous for them and their
nation. An excellent prophet will make an inferior king.
The boundary between church and
state must be kept clear. Prophets must not attempt to manipulate
or control the civil authorities on Godís behalf. They must
limit their efforts to persuasion. They must speak Godís word
and leave the Holy Spirit to change the politicians heart. The key
to being heard is to hear from God. The more clearly the prophet
hears from God, the more his words will be heeded. Wise prophets
will remain separate from the trappings of the state, so that they
can hear God clearly and speak with integrity.
Prophets to the Nation speak as individuals and not on behalf
of their church. Their authority will not come from their position
in the church (they may be recognised as prophets by the church).
They will only have authority in the nation, if their words are
true and anointed by the Holy Spirit. They will not be able to
make decisions for the government or business. Those with
authority in business or the government must test the words of the
prophets and only obey them if they are true. They should listen
to those who are skilled at hearing form God, but they are not
required to obey them blindly. They must obey God, rather than
man. Controlling prophets are as dangerous as an imperialistic
Political loyalties are very limiting for prophetic people. A
person who is loyal to the right or to the left will be able to
function as a prophet in their church or bring words to the
people the meet, but they are unlikely to move on to the role of
prophet to their state or nation. A prophet to the nations must
be totally loyal to God and to his law.
Unless prophetic people understand that political parties and
human politics are not part of Godís plan, very few real
prophets to the nations will emerge. Godís revelation for
rulers and governments is contained in his law, so prophets
called to speak to their nation must understand and defend the
law. They cannot afford to be blinded by loyalty to a party or
People with valid prophetic gifts become ďcourt prophetsĒ
when their loyalty to a particular political leader or a
political party takes precedence over their loyalty to God. The
court prophets that led Jehoshaphat astray were not prophets of
Baal. They were prophets of the Lord, trained among the sons of
the prophets. They would have been brought to the palace when
their ability to hear and speak the word of God was recognised.
The problem was that they became too loyal to the kingís
party. This prevented them from hearing Godís warning and left
them vulnerable to a lying spirit (1 Kings 22).
The American nation does not have a clear prophetic voice.
That is a dangerous place to be. I am sure that God is calling
many of his people to be a prophet to the nation. Unfortunately
most are so wrapped up in America that they cannot offer the
total loyalty that God needs for this role. Blind loyalty to the
left or right is blocking the prophetic flow at the national
Social justice is becoming an important
issue for the church. This is good, because God is concerned about
justice. However too often the justice that is proclaimed is
merely humanistic justice. The church tends to jump on the
bandwagons that are being pushed by liberal humanists. Moreover,
the message is too often spoken by committees or church officials,
who have no real authority in the eyes of the world. The result is
that their voices are lost amongst all the other voices that are
speaking into modern society. If the church is to have an impact
in the area of social justice, it must pray that God will raise up
prophets to speak to the nation.
Watchmen serve their time and their
church by understanding and defining the mentality of
contemporary phenomenons. The prophet is a man of foundations,
able to analyse the results of a common trend in society by
looking at its roots. He is skilled in the art of deduction,
interpretation and discernment. He, himself becomes a force
against the mentality of the time and he offers understanding
of how to avoid the influence of its atmosphere. This imminent
force of separation and purity is the prophetic dimension.
(Lars Widerberg - The Seer).
Prophets should know the mind of God, so
they will proclaim a standard of justice and righteousness that
is true. They will know the issues that are on the heart of God
and how true peace and justice can be established. Prophets will
speak in the name of the Lord, so they will have tremendous
authority. God will watch over their words to ensure that they
come to pass. There are many calls for the church to be
prophetic, but this is impossible for a church without prophets.
As Christians we believe that God is
active in the world and that his word can be heard in the
events of human history. We believe it is the church's duty to
proclaim what God is doing and what he would have us do. So
Amos of old denounced the selfish indifference of the rich and
the unjust suffering of the poor in Israel. Jeremiah who
proclaimed that the inevitable judgement of a just God on his
faithless people was to be seen in the fall of Jerusalem. We
cannot doubt that God is at work in the turmoil of our world
today, in inflation, in industrial unrest and political
uncertainty, in the aspirations of the Third world. He has a
word for us to proclaim to our contemporaries, a word of
challenge, of judgement, of comfort and of hope. Yet the voice
of the church and of Christians generally seems, strangely
What a nation needs more than anything else
is not a Christian ruler in the palace, but a Christian
prophet in earshot (Kenneth Kaunda, Former President of
The good news of salvation is still
being proclaimed but if a crisis is being faced, why is their
no clear guidance. If the church is to give a lead in
proclaiming Godís word about economic and political
questions, it will be those engaged in economics and politics
as practitioners or a students and teachers. We need to
understand what God is saying to us in the situation in which
he has placed us at the present time (John F Solemn).
Guidance to Rulers
A key role of a Prophet to a Nation is to provide guidance to
rulers. Prophets will be experts on Godís law, so they can teach
political authorities how to obey it.
When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for
himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the
priests, who are Levites. It is to be with him, and he is to
read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere
the LORD his God and follow carefully all the words of this law
and these decrees (Deut 17:18,19).
The Prophet to the Nation will teach the rulers of the nation
how to implement Godís law. As prophets love the law more than
others, they will have better understanding of its principles.
Their wisdom will assist those who are struggling to interpret the
law. Prophets will understand the principles of good government,
so they will be able to provide good guidance to those in
Ruling a nation can be a frightening task. Many decisions have
to be made and most of them are hard, so rulers have always
attempted to surround themselves with wise people. The king of
Israel knew the benefit of having a prophet close by to help him
Now the king of Aram was at war with Israel. After conferring
with his officers, he said, "I will set up my camp in such
and such a place. The man of God sent word to the king of
Israel: "Beware of passing that place, because the Arameans
are going down there." So the king of Israel checked on the
place indicated by the man of God. Time and again Elisha warned
the king, so that he was on his guard in such places. This
enraged the king of Aram. He summoned his officers and demanded
of them, "Will you not tell me which of us is on the side
of the king of Israel?" "None of us, my lord the
king," said one of his officers, "but Elisha, the
prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very
words you speak in your bedroom." (2 Kings 6:8-12).
Prophets will give supernatural guidance to the political
ruler. Because their wisdom is from God, it will be effective.
God will establish the Prophet to the Nation in his position by
giving him the wisdom that the ruler needs. The King of Israel
knew that Elisha was a prophet, because his words were correct.
The King of Babylon trusted Daniel, because he correctly
interpreted a dream that none or the Babylonian wise men
This is a very important principle. Many people, including
prophets, are willing to criticise their government. Prophets to
the Nation are different. They begin their careers by assisting
their government in tricky situations. Ahab trusted Miciahís
words, because he provided correct advice in the past (1Kings
22:7,8). Rulers will be glad to have prophets in their court, even
if they hate God, because they need their advice.
Prophets will give warning to the rulers of nation when they
are taking the wrong direction or taking authority that God has
not given them. The Old Testament prophets spent much of their
time warning kings who had rejected Godís way and were following
the way of the world. Strong prophets are the best protection
against the power of the state.
Good rulers welcome correction. The prophet Nathan challenged
David when he committed adultery and murder, but remained his
friend. Nathan had established his credibility with David much
earlier, when the King was planning the temple (1Sam 7). Every
ruler needs a prophet like Nathan who can hear the voice of God
and challenge his sins. Rulers are usually surrounded by people
trying to ďgrease upĒ to them. In this environment, a
prophetic friend is the best protection against the occupation
hazard of hubris. All rulers need a friend to speak Godís word
The Prophet to the Nation will pray for their government.
Samuel prayed all night when his friend King Saul fell from grace
(1 Sam 15:11). Every political leader needs a friend of God who
will intercede for him with this intensity.
Prophets and Law
God is raising up prophetic people all
over the world, to be a prophetic voice in their church.
Hopefully a few of these will go to be prophets to their
The Old Testament prophets were the
guardians of Godís law. They prosecuted kings for their
failure to obey the law. Every prophet speaking at the national
level must use Godís law as a standard for testing the
behaviour and actions of rulers and kings. To be an effective
voice to their nation, these prophets must have a sound
understanding of Godís law.
Those called to be a prophetic voice in
their nation must understand the connection between their
ministry and Godís law.
A prophet who is not rooted in Godís law will end up
following after some fashionable secular voice. The can easily
become the servant of particular political party. Without a
clear standard, prophets will be blown around by every wind of
As prophets exercise the power of the
trumpet on behalf of the Church, they will need to love the
law. The Old Testament prophets were like legal prosecutors who
charged and attempted to convict Israel of failure to keep the
law. They were so passionate for Godís law they were willing
to risk the wrath of wicked Kings when confronting their
For prophets to exercise the power of the trumpet, they will
need to change their attitude to the law. Several Psalms teach
that we should love the law.
Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long
Your commands make me wiser than my enemies,
for they are ever with me.
I have more insight than all my teachers,
for I meditate on your statutes.
I have more understanding than the elders
for I obey your precepts (Psalm 119:97-100).
We have interpreted this message as a call to love the
scriptures, but that is not what the Psalmist says. We are
actually told to love the law and are promised that this will give
us greater wisdom than our teachers. Prophets will study the Old
Testament law with passion to understand how it applies to civil
government in a modern society.
The Old Testament prophets were like legal prosecutors who
charged Israel with failure to keep the law. They were so
passionate for Godís law they were willing to risk the wrath of
wicked Kings when confronting their nations sin.
I will speak of your statutes before
kings and will not be put to shame,for I delight in your
commandsbecause I love them. (Psalm 119:46,47).
Prophets will only be able to speak
clearly to the rulers of their nation, if they truely love the
Prophets and Judges
The prophets will have a role in exposing judges who are
unjust. Micah challenged the judges of Jerusalem for accepting
Her leaders judge for a bribe, her priests teach for a price,
and her prophets tell fortunes for money (Mic 3:11)
Jeremiah warned the judges against protecting evil people and
not establishing justice.
How can you say, "We are wise, for we have the law of
the LORD," when actually the lying pen of the scribes has
handled it falsely? The wise will be put to shame; they will be
dismayed and trapped. Since they have rejected the word of the
LORD, what kind of wisdom do they have? From the least to the
greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike,
all practice deceit. Are they ashamed of their loathsome
conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know
how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen; they will be
brought down when they are punished, says the LORD (Jer 8:8-12).
The prophets will expose judges that are not honouring God and
For really difficult cases, judges might call in people with
spiritual discernment or prophetic insight.
If cases come before your courts that are too difficult for
you to judgeówhether bloodshed, lawsuits or assaultsótake
them to the place the LORD your God will choose. Go to the
priests, who are Levites, and to the judge who is in office at
that time. Inquire of them and they will give you the verdict
Following the work of the cross, there are no priests or
Levites as such, but every society should have men and women of
God with the gift of discernment. Wise people may be called on to
help with difficult cases.
However, no matter how wise our judges, mistakes will still be
made. Judges should be humble, knowing that we will never get
perfect justice on this earth. God is our final judge. Any
mistakes that are made by human judges will eventually be
corrected when we stand before the perfect judge at the end of the
age. All mistakes will be corrected perfectly.
A calling to speak to the nation will be
rare. Most prophets will function as an elder in a Church and only
a few will become a Prophet to the Nation. We should not confuse
these two roles. Most prophetic people will never get beyond the
ordinary role of elder in their Church. Those with a ministry in a
Church should not presume to be a Jeremiah or an Amos. Many of the
more solemn and serious aspects of the teaching on these pages only apply to the
Prophet to the Nation.
Some nations have a calling to be
prophetic. They cannot achieve their destiny until the prophetic
ministry is established in their midst.
There are nations that have special
gifts. NZ may have a prophetic function in the world. America
is called to apostolic ministry. There is something in the
American nature that initiates and plants. There is something
in the NZ nature that can hold truth in (Tom Marshall - The
Coming of the Prophets).