Testing the Springs of Prophecy: A Case Study

Dec 16, 2022 | INSIGHTS, PRAY

One of the delights of living under the Malvern Hills, is going to collect fresh spring water from one of the spouts that circle the length of them. Not infrequently, though, the Water Board put up a sign at the collection point, warning us that the water is not completely pure, and that it needs to be boiled before drinking.

While we can be utterly sure of the purity of Biblical prophecy, we need to be more cautious when it comes to modern-day prophets; Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world, John urges his beloved congregations. (1 Jn. 4:1)

Shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine, we shared a prophecy from Kim Clement, which he gave back in 2014. (See here for our original post and navigate to ‘A prophetic word about Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.’) Kim died in 2016, but in this word, he suggested that the Lord was calling time on Vladimir Putin. We thought it might prove interesting to look at this word in more detail – as well as to discover something of the way in which God prepared Ronald Reagan spiritually to be President.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me to make a declaration to the nations of the earth. The Spirit of God says, ‘Putin, I speak to you now. King Putin, you call yourself. Do you really believe that I raised up a king in the 80s by the name of Ronald Reagan to pull down a curtain and to destroy a wall that divided – for nothing? Did you really think I did that in vain, for you to stand and raise a wall and a curtain again? No, no! Putin, get out of My way! Get out of My way,’ says the Lord! ‘As I hardened the heart of Pharaoh for the benefit of My people, so have I hardened your heart.’”

For those of us appalled by what we see Putin doing, and who believe the gift of prophecy operates today, this word surely strikes a resonant note, and we may well say want to say ‘amen’ without a second thought. But I would like to take the opportunity to explore the matter of discernment when it comes to prophecy. As I was pondering, a picture came into my mind of a very fine artist’s scalpel. I sensed the Lord was saying that He wants us, at a spiritual level, to learn to use to tools of discernment, including a scalpel, to understand our times, to assess prophetic words and the spirit in which they are given, and our own responses to these things.

Let’s deal first with the matter of timing. Kim shared this prophecy eight years ago, and Putin appears to have done anything but get out of God’s way in the times since. In fact, things are now much worse than they were 8 years ago. But it is God who appoints the times and seasons – and who also tells His prophets of His plans ahead of time.

We have mentioned before the word Rees Howells received and make public, when he very publicly prophesied the downfall of Hitler in 1939 – well in advance of the actual event.

Of Rees, as of Jeremiah, it can truly be said that he was appointed by the Lord ‘over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.’ (Jer. 1:10) With all the destruction that the next six years brought, of course, there must have been many who wondered whether Rees had heard truly – especially as he is known to have got certain other things wrong, as all modern-day prophets do – not least because it would not be good for either them or anyone else if they were always infallible! But God, who sees the end from the beginning, was ‘watching over his word to Rees to fulfil it’ (cf Jer. 1:12). Despite the devil’s desperate attempts to protect his own, Hitler would not be able ultimately to outrun or escape the sentence that God had pronounced against him.

Similarly, we can note the forty-year delay between Jeremiah’s prophecies of destruction and the Babylonians actually turning up – not to mention the many centuries between Isaiah’s vision of the promised Messiah, and His birth in Bethlehem. Time cannot be the primary factor, therefore, in determining whether a prophecy is true or not. After all, we today are still waiting in faith for Christ’s return – just as generations of expectant believers have done through the centuries. The fact remains that He is not slow in keeping His promises – He is simply waiting for the fullest possible number to come into the ‘ark’ and be saved. (2 Pet. 3:8-10)

When it comes to Kim’s word, there is no ‘use-by’ date on it, and no reason to suppose it false because as yet it is only partially fulfilled.

How did you react, though, to the reference in the prophecy to the Lord raising up Ronald Reagan? His name might unsettle some, either because they held different political views to him, or because they are uncomfortable with associating politics with religion. (I am with the former bishop of Oxford Charles Gore all the way in that regard, in saying that that proposition works better the other way round: that we should certainly be seeking to bring God ‘in’ to politics as into every other sphere of human activity).

Not everyone will know this story, of how godly men, including George Otis and Pat Boone, came together to pray with Reagan while he was Governor of California, and found themselves prophesying that, if he walked uprightly before the Lord, he would become President of America. It is a moving story, and gives me a lot of confidence that the Lord did indeed make Reagan-Thatcher alliance a major plank in bringing down the Soviet Union.

Isaiah tells us to ‘Look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were mined.’ (Is.51:1) In other words, we must do our best to consider the spiritual roots from which a word springs, to see if its source is pure, or whether there is indeed a danger of contamination as a result of strong and unhealthy doctrines or emphases – whilst still allowing that the Lord has made us all different, and that each one of us has a unique perspective to bring in any situation.

In our example, we might want to know if Kim had a particular call concerning the role God has given America to play in the world. In that case, it would be perfectly legitimate for him to recognise the specific ways in which Reagan contributed to the fall of the Soviet Union, without in any way detracting from the roles played by other agencies. Were we to discover that he was an outright nationalist (I actually know nothing whatsoever about this) then it would obviously incline me to be especially careful.

These are reasons why we need to learn how to handle a scalpel, and to use it with finesse. There are layers to strip down as we seek to assay and assess the metal of a word, the tone it sounds, the ones to whom it is relevant – and our own response to it. Cf this previous article on clearing and cleansing the springs.

Lord, please clear and cleanse the springs of our hearts, and remove the beams from our eyes and the cotton wool from our ears. Teach us to use all the tools You have given us, with skill and confidence. Amen.

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