[EDIT 11/17/2020 : This blog was published on May 20th, 2019. I have updated it to fix one factual error. (In the previous version of this post I claimed that Jeremiah was killed for his prophetic witness.) I also hedged in the introduction. I said that I was not necessarily talking about the upcoming presidential though in hindsight it is difficult to interpret it in any other way. I said that simply to avoid making a hard prediction about what was happening in the election. I wasn’t confident enough in the timing of the word to put a specific date. Even up until this election I wasn’t sure if I was talking about 2020 or 2024. However with current events moving the way they are moving, I felt it was time to re-release this prophetic word.]
I believe God has given me a prophetic word about a shift of power that is coming soon to the United States. This power shift has grave implications for politics and for the Church. While I’m not making any predictions about the upcoming presidential election, I do believe that if we don’t adjust, the Church’s cultural influence in this nation will be greatly diminished. I think the Biblical paradigm for the Church’s cultural engagement in this next season are found in the prophetic ministries of Jeremiah and Daniel.
The Prophetic Message of Jeremiah
The prophet, Jeremiah spent his whole ministry telling the nations of Israel and Judah what they didn’t want to hear: that God was going to hand them over to the idol-worshipping Babylonians. This message did not make Jeremiah the most popular guy. He faced slander, persecution, imprisonment, and threats of death for his prophetic witness to God’s people.
King Zedekiah, aware of Jeremiah’s prophetic voice, asked to meet Jeremiah in secret. He asked Jeremiah what the word of the Lord was for Jerusalem. This was Jeremiah’s prophetic word:
This is what the Lord God Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘If you surrender to the officers of the king of Babylon, your life will be spared and this city will not be burned down; you and your family will live.18 But if you will not surrender to the officers of the king of Babylon, this city will be given into the hands of the Babylonians and they will burn it down; you yourself will not escape from them.Jeremiah 38:16-18 (NIV)
Jeremiah’s constant prophetic warnings to Judah and Israel was that a power shift was coming and rather than fight the shift of power, it was time to work for the good of those who sought to enslave them.
Imagine the outrage! Jeremiah sounded like a traitor! He sounded like a Babylonian spy! He was demoralizing the armies of Israel and Judah with his supposed prophetic warnings! Surely this wasn’t the will of God!
The Prophetic Words of Pretenders
The other prophets knew better than Jeremiah. Hananiah, son of Azzur believed that it was not the will of God to bring the Children of Israel into slavery to the Babylonians. He boldly proclaimed that the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, would be broken off of the necks of the nation of Israel. (Jeremiah 28.)
Jeremiah actually wanted this to be true. He didn’t want to be right. Jeremiah said of Hanaiah’s prophecy,
Amen! May the Lord do so! May the Lord fulfill the words you have prophesied by bringing the articles of the Lord’s house and all the exiles back to this place from Babylon. Nevertheless, listen to what I have to say in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people: From early times the prophets who preceded you and me have prophesied war, disaster and plague against many countries and great kingdoms. But the prophet who prophesies peace will be recognized as one truly sent by the Lord only if his prediction comes true.Jeremiah 28:6-9 (NIV)
Later in the chapter, we read that the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah to say that Hananiah was prophesying rebellion against God and for his sin, he would be struck dead. Shortly thereafter, Hananiah died.
Not everyone who prophesies blessings and favor are speaking on the authority of God. It is incredibly important that we correctly discern the voice of God in this time and obey Him, rather than believe the prophets that tell us what we want to hear. If we prioritize feel-good words over the genuine voice of God, we will lose our prophetic voice and open ourselves up to deception. We will additionally become fruitless in our efforts to bring the Gospel to a culture that desperately needs it.
I believe the Lord has been speaking to me that there will be a shift of power in our nation. Political leaders who are not warm toward the Church or toward religious liberty will soon seize the reigns of government. I believe that this transfer of power will come soon and will take many by surprise, and in spite of the hostility the Church will face, we are to serve the very people who seek to silence and persecute us.
R. Loren Sandford has given a prophetic word a few years ago that I think has much to do with what the Lord is speaking to me:
A Loyal Prophetic Opposition
Daniel was a true Israelite. He loved God, yet he loyally served the king of Babylon. He didn’t speak evil of the king behind his back. (Though if you read about King Nebuchadnezzar, he certainly deserved it.) The only times when Daniel spoke ill of the king was when he was interpreting a dream given to the king by God.
The king trusted Daniel’s prophetic voice because he trusted Daniel’s loyalty. When Daniel prophesied the fact that Nebuchadnezzar would be made like a beast for a time, he prayed sincerely that the interpretation would be concerning the king’s enemies.
Daniel didn’t always agree with the king. He disobeyed the kings orders to cease prayer to any other god’s except himself. Daniel refused, and openly prayed to the God of Heaven three times every day. For that, Daniel was thrown into a pit with hungry lions, but God delivered him. Daniel’s three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, were thrown into a fiery furnace for refusing to bow to an idol made in the king’s image. (Seriously this guy was on the biggest ego trip I’ve ever heard of.)
Though Daniel didn’t agree with King Nebuchadnezzar about a lot of incredibly important issues, he understood that he was placed under the authority of Nebuchadnezzar by God and to rebel against this wicked king would be to rebel against God. Though Daniel stood for his principals under a hostile authority, he was able to honor the king and work for his benefit.
Kris Vallotton of Bethel Church has an incredible prophetic word on this very topic which you can listen to here:
Our Prophetic Direction
Regardless of your political persuasion, the Bible is clear that we are to pray for our political leaders. Whether or not we agree with them, whether or not we like them, and whether or not they are truly wicked people. God did not give us a qualifier to this command.
In light of this, I believe the advice of Gedaliah in Jeremiah 40 is a prophetic word for us:
Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, took an oath to reassure them and their men. “Do not be afraid to serve the Babylonians,” he said. “Settle down in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and it will go well with you”…”you are to harvest the wine, summer fruit and olive oil, and put them in your storage jars, and live in the towns you have taken over.”Jeremiah 40:9-10 (NIV)
I believe that the coming political shift of power will be unpleasant and even feel like the work of the enemy for some Christians. I believe that it is vitally important that rather than call forth prophetic words about judgements on these emerging political leaders, we ought to seek to serve them, pray for them, and work for their benefit.
Jesus told us that the meek shall inherit the earth. The way to bring about the will and justice of God in this next season will not be through fiery and condemnatory sermons and facebook rants. It will be through humility, meekness, loyalty and service. It will be through finding the gold in the people who hate us. It will be through blessing and not cursing. If we will take this attitude now, we will retain a prophetic influence for the future.
May you and I learn to speak the truth with love and humility. May we work to the benefit of those who hate us. May we bless those who curse us and may we learn to love our enemies sincerely.
Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash