πας ο μισων τον αδελφον αυτου ανθρωποκτονος εστιν και οιδατε οτι πας ανθρωποκτονος ουκ εχει ζωην αιωνιον εν εαυτω μενουσαν εν – τουτω εγνωκαμεν την αγαπην οτι εκεινος υπερ υμων την ψυχην αυτου εθηκεν και ημεις οφειλομεν υπερ των αδελφων τας ψυχας θειναι 1 John 3:15-16
The following quote is taken from a series of communications I had with a brother some years ago and which had to do with sisters, and women generally.
“Where is the compassion of the men? Do you not know the compassion which Jesus had on women and why? Do you not understand the injustice which men have levelled against women in almost every age? Do you not know that Elijah was merciful to women and humbled himself for their sake? Do you not comprehend that God is going to pour out his anger on this generation because of wickedness arising from injustice which has been produced by the injustice of men? Not the rebellion of women. Do you not know that a man is accountable for his wife and not a wife for her husband?“
Many people reading this statement would more than likely receive it and yet with a little more thought could quickly discover that it contains a number of definite challenges. For a start how did Jesus treat women? Or how did Elijah treat women? Is it really true that the husband is accountable for his wife, and not the wife for the husband? Is it true that historically men have caused women to stumble so that even when women have reacted, their reactions can be called rebellion? Are the ways in which men have treated women historically, or presently, unjust? And finally, is that injustice really going to produce the judgement of God in this generation?
One of the characters of the prophetic ministry is that statements like the one in the opening quotation contain meanings that are true, though not necessarily in the way we imagine. Nevertheless it is possible to ask a man who has a seeming low position towards women these questions. In asking them in this way my heart is both directed at a compassionate understanding of women, and at the same time discloses something that draws the heart to a truth that we cannot refuse, even when we can receive natural facts. The words are set in the present, and though they speak of the past, even back to Elijah, they cannot ignore the time we live in. So how do we speak of that which was, which is, and which is to come? It is that character of past, present and future which discloses meanings that are peculiar to the prophetic ministry.
Some people imagine that the prophetic ministry is a future telling ministry and so they generally refuse it. Others encourage this future emphasis because they also see something of the times in which they live, such as sisters being given authority in the churches, and believing that this is not biblical they react to that fact. Yet these same men and women who agree with the future prophetic meaning, may miss the past meaning and for that reason they also miss half of the present meaning as well. The easiest way to answer this lack of prophetic gifting in others, who may well see one fact of the present, and from that sense an outcome into the future, is to speak of Christ Jesus, who was both Prophet, Priest and King.
“Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” Jn 8:1-11
Naturally when we read this passage from John’s Gospel we are very relieved that Jesus didn’t condemn this woman caught in adultery. The reason we are relieved is because we can all acknowledge our own sins in some measure or other and so we reasonably hold onto the fact that Jesus came to take away the sin of the world. Less easily seen is that the Law of Moses did in fact require an adulteress to be stoned to death. Even more difficult to recognise is that Jesus is God with us. And the Law of Moses was the Law given by God. We also have to wonder what this woman really thought and what her future conduct was like. Her only words are No man, Lord. We may also miss the words that Jesus spoke with this woman. “Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?” And in response to her words, Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”
So what then does the prophetic ministry really mean? That which was, which is, and which is to come must be the balance and not one element or another. Not even two elements but all three elements must inform the prophet. If not then he will cite the Law of Moses or else he will cite the present conduct of a woman, or else he will test others with a mind to snare them into being judgemental. That is the great difficulty we all have in our lives. How can we know the law of God, as well the present condition of others, and resist condemnation? The one way we do this is by asserting that only God is our judge and so we essentially do appalling things which we insist are misunderstandings and then being without any sort of correction or reproof we just press on and lay waste to others with a hard heart. Or else we accuse others of sins which are real enough and we judge them in a spirit of condemnation.
And so as not to be misunderstood here let me say plainly what I mean to say. How would we understand a circumstance wherein a mother and a child, being without a husband are given a temporary accommodation of one room with a window so high it cannot be looked through. No cooker, no fridge, no key to their prescribed entrance at the side, and then when given a key to the main door others show distrust? In two weeks this sister and her child are not visited by any member of their church, neither invited to eat with anyone. And all of this despite that her church is also the church of the man who facilitated this accommodation, and the accommodation was in the authority of her church. The church members saw her every day, worked with her and knew her in detail. If you are minded to condemn this spirit then consider that you may also have been party to similar things despite that you would more than likely not even realise what you have done. And therein is the great difficulty we have in our churches. We may treat one another with an appalling contempt and when asked about it by one prophetic voice, we cry accuser.
This sister made no complaint and to this day makes no complaint. One would assume that it is her attitude that makes certain that all those other believers that failed to give the most basic brotherly kindness to this sister are either innocent or else utterly ignorant. Over the last 34 years I have seen this kind of effect, and far worse than this many times. Indeed I have found that when I have spoken into these things, others see nothing, have comprehended nothing and see no responsibility at all. If one were to press things prophetically then it would become clear that it is spiritual conflict that most informs these events, and thus many Christians simply feel justified in their attitudes, both at the time and into the future regardless of what they say when presented with facts. Yet facts are facts, even as the woman caught in adultery did not deny her sin, – And it is another fact that the Lord did not condemn her even though she had broken the Law of Moses by a significant margin. So how did her accusers escape themselves? They escaped because they were convicted of their own sins – beginning with the oldest to the youngest of their number.
“And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land. And the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee. So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink. And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand. And she said, As the Lord thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die. And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son. For thus saith the Lord God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sendeth rain upon the earth. And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days. And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Elijah.”
So what then of Elijah the prophet? It was his prophecy that withheld the rain that gave rise to drought and famine in the land. “And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.” (1 Kings 17:1). It was God who told him that He had commanded a widow woman to provide him with food. (v9) And it was therefore Elijah who not only asked for water, but asked for bread also. (vv10-11) On the other hand the widow was intent on making one last meal, hence why she was gathering sticks for the fire and then on planning to eat it with her son, she was minded to die. How we love these accounts of the lives of the prophets. So Elijah is able to say, “Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son. For thus saith the Lord God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sendeth rain upon the earth.” Elijah tells the widow not to be afraid, and to do as she has stated, but to first bring him a meal from the flour and the oil. What Elijah wanted was his meal first – only then would all else follow on.
What then constitutes that which was, which is, and which is to come in this account? The drought was grounded in the past because it was spoken by Elijah. The present was a widow facing starvation with her son, and the future was a widow well fed, and even the life of her son given back to her when he died of an unrelated sickness some time later. And this widow lived in a town, and one assumes that some of that town were also suffering as well. If we then try to understand this widow’s heart a little further what we find is a remarkable thing. When Elijah asked for water, the very water he had said to King Ahab would dry up until he said otherwise, and that she was also poor and very vulnerable – you would think that when her flour did not run out, and her oil did not dry up, she would have known for sure that Elijah was indeed a man of God. The problem is, however, we may not take such things as evidence of God. Yet when Elijah raised her son from the dead, then she exclaims, “Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in thy mouth is truth.”
So what is this then? If the prophet imagines that this passage is given to teach us about the prophetic and we miss the humanity of a widow and her child, then he is neither a prophet nor even a man of God. Most of what is valuable in this account can be taken from the life of the widow. There is just one exception. The drought was necessary because of the wickedness of King Ahab, including his choice of Jezebel as his wife. And arising from those simple facts of Ahab, he brought Israel into a time of distress. (1 Kings 17-29-31). The widow on the other hand is innocent. Her attitude from the moment she met Elijah was natural, and her clear trust in God was evident. Yet food did not convince her that Elijah was a man of God. It was her son from the dead that convinced her that he was a man of God and that his words were true. That fact tells us something about all of us, because it tells us something about the flesh. We would prefer to focus on Elijah and his great deeds, but miss that whilst Elijah was obedient, his obedience extended to the full compassion of God and had to include food for a widow – it could not simply mean drought and famine. We may also miss that this widow had water despite that she had just one measure of flour and oil to make her last meal.
Whereas when Jesus spoke with the woman at the well in Samaria, being the same place called Israel in the time of King Ahab, we read, “There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly. The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.” John 4:7-26
The woman at the well was neither hungry nor without a man to meet her natural affections. She was honest because when Jesus pointed out that she had had five men, and none of them were her husband, nor was the man she was with then, she acknowledged His words. Not only did she acknowledge His words, but she also realised that she was speaking with a prophet. Then she received to herself the clear declaration wherein Christ openly stated that He was the Christ of God. Whereas in Jerusalem others demanded that Jesus say it plainly. To which Jesus said I have told you, yet you did not believe me. And then advised them to believe His works even if they could not believe His words (John 10:22-23).
Again, what is this then? If we imagine that a widow being given bread and oil, when she is near to hunger, or else being told what our life really is, when we are a woman who will not take a husband according to God, but nevertheless have men, then we may miss that neither prophecy nor food, will teach us anything at all unless we understand the times we live in and are willing to be honest about ourselves. When we are told what we have done and we are honest, then we may also receive Christ. The second is that when we miss that we have been given flour and oil, so that we may eat bread, it will be a son raised from the dead that will prove that we are in the midst of the purposes of God. What characterises the prophetic ministry therefore is not a simple fact of compassion in understanding the condition of others to whom we are asked to speak, but also understanding the time in which we live. For Elijah was set to go to Mount Carmel and destroy the false prophets of Baal raised by Jezebel in Israel (Samaria), and the woman at the well in Samaria is told that even though she worshipped God in Samaria, even the Temple in Jerusalem would be rejected in favour of knowing the Father in Heaven.
Now we do not have Samaria, nor yet the temple. If we have believed into Christ Jesus we are the temple of the living God. Moreover we live in an exceptional time of wickedness, which whilst we may imagine to know this from the breadth of lawlessness towards God in the nations, we are in fact entirely ignorant for the most part of the condition of the churches. It is that fact, in these times which we need to understand and not simply a fact of nations. The distinction here is a simple one to make. Lawlessness towards God is not only increased and to increase, but the Church is to grow into maturity. If all we see is decrease, and a lack of the fear of God in the nations, and cannot see how increase of godliness in the church is maturity, measured by obedience and a fear of the Lord, then we do not have that which was, which is, and which is to come, but only that which we have now. The prophetic ministry must speak into the present by speaking of the past deeds of God, as well the present condition of men, and the future outcomes of these effects. And those effects include poor outcomes as well as good outcomes. So not only do we have to speak into one effect properly, being rebellion and lawlessness in the churches, but we also have to speak into obedience, being a growth that makes us more than mere men in our walk. Both are true and both ought to be in our speech if we say we have a prophetic ministry. If not then we are unbalanced and will more than likely find ourselves harming the purposes of God and not upholding them.
“And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.” Rev 1:12-20
If we are to claim to a past, present and future understanding on any matter then it would be most likely that we would have to have seen that which is in the past in our own experience, in John’s case it is Christ Himself. We would also have to be able to speak about the present things that are shown to us, or which we can see, and we would have to speak about the end of things also. If not then the term prophetic, if by that we mean to speak for God, is utterly nonsensical. For how can we speak for God, and yet unlike God have no witness, no sight and no revelation. If we are unable to know what we have seen ourselves, what we can now see, and what these things will mean, then we are frauds and fools. Not only that but we make God to be a liar also because we say, thus says the Lord. And if we do not say thus says the Lord, we intend it to be our meaning in any regard. Otherwise we would be better keeping our mouths shut.
The challenges in my original statement at the opening of this article have at their heart a reality that I have come across many times in ministry. It is this. The most harmful and damaging people in the churches today have not been men at all, but women. Albeit that these sisters did in fact have a genuine desire towards God, and often did know something at least of the harm of men, be that their fathers, husbands, brothers, or else pastors, and yet when they responded to that in their own calling they ended up doing something really very unexpected. What they did was this. They cut their husbands off and embraced a deceiver and a heretic in another man. They set aside natural affection and laid hold of a spiritual ambition. And whilst this would seem to be reasonable if their husbands had been vile men, or else their pastors had been harmful, nevertheless such sisters become more abusive than either their abusive husbands or the harmful pastors.
When I have met sisters who have indeed had abusive husbands, and fathers and brothers and pastors, what I have found by and large is a different outcome when the sister has not rejected the order of creation in favour of remedying the faults of men. Such sisters are genuinely special because they have such forgiving hearts and rarely speak ill of men at all. Yet in speaking with them, in their homes and in other places, they tell me how they have been abused, especially by elders and pastors, and yet they do not hate either elder or pastor. And that because they are not bitter of their fathers and brothers. In the many instances of seeing genuine spiritual abuse, by pastors, through their wives, or else in their own persons – and speaking of elders, through sisters who have literally hated some men to death, and who have been completely worthless in protecting the flocks of God, it is impossible to exaggerate just how much abuse is taking place in the churches. The problem with saying it is the problem of knowing it. Most of these sisters, and indeed pastors and elders would not even believe they have abused anyone at all. Some brethren genuinely believe that they have done well, and yet if they were to take the simple facts of their actions and the effects of them into account – then they would have to see that they have been less than compassionate. In fact most men do not appear to understand why many sisters have a concern for men. They literally believe they are just fine. Many women are so deluded on this point of their rebellion that they are now irredeemably given to its effect.
What is now happening in the churches is that sisters are coming into leadership roles and even eldership, and so the harm is taking on another character. Men are taking the place in which Ahab was found when he sulked because he could not have the vineyard of Naboth – not even for a fair price. And then his wife, Jezebel, seeing his weakness, promised to get it for him. “So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, and sealed them with his seal, and sent the letters unto the elders and to the nobles that were in his city, dwelling with Naboth.” To which she secured the King’s seal on a letter commanding Naboth to be falsely accused and then to be stoned to death. It was whilst Ahab was taking his pleasure in his new vineyard that Elijah appeared and Ahab realised that his enemy had found him. It was that encounter that prophetically set down the end of Jezebel and the generations of Ahab. So where in this can we find the mercy of God? Ahab was so appalled by what Elijah had said to him, that he repented of the vineyard, went around in sackcloth and ashes and so much so that God later said to Elijah, “Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days: but in his son’s days will I bring the evil upon his house.” Yet whilst Ahab was spared the immediate judgement of God on his own life, his wife and his sons did not receive mercy.
How to understand that outcome is specifically to do with who Jezebel really was in her own ambitions, because she must have seen her husband going about in sackcloth and acting meekly, yet she did not repent. For Jezebel to repent it would have taken the removal of her prophetic priesthood to Baal. It would have taken her influence on her sons to be removed as well. Indeed it would have taken a Mount Carmel, without the sword, and to the same effect of an end of her rebellious inclinations, to change anything. And herein lies the sobering truth about the day we live in. I have seen many sisters behave abusively to other sisters and to men, and especially to their husbands – seeing not that when they burden a sister with her apparel by which they say she is causing others to stumble, they have not seen this sister’s heart and that she was in no way immodest in her heart and only in her dress in a small way. Yet these sisters troop about and cause injury as men did in the past, yet their going about is going to be more vexatious in this hour than the men of the past have been vexatious. It is not the sins of sisters or brothers that will determine the outcome of its own, however, it is the time we live in that will give these things their end time character of apostasy, in a day when the Man of Sin will appear and be lauded the Christ. It is the Church that has contributed the most to that effect in our time.
Very few men will easily go after a truly false man, other than in some foolish way of being boasters. Whereas many men, and even the prophetic will go after a woman who has come into authority, as Jezebel became a Queen. When they do that then we will have a truly appalling reality on our hands. A man will do as a Queen Jezebel asks, when she uses the King’s seal. Also, a woman, who in truth is of that same mind, when they use their husbands as their seal of authority in order to exercise authority in the churches, is a picture of Jezebel. In the end such a sister will become that authority to such an effect that these false men will believe they are serving true God, when all others are laid waste who dare to so much as disagree with this outcome. That brethren is what it means to be in the prophetic ministry in this hour. A sister who openly rebels against all men will similarly resist all women too. Such a woman is truly Jezebelic in her influence and ambitions. Yet such women historically rarely achieved very much at all. The sister that will be most effectual in producing an outcome that manifests in the time when a voice will be heard in the wilderness speaking of Christ, yet is not John the Baptist, neither yet Elijah, will be brought about because men have continued to abrogate their natural authority, and because in the past they have abused their wives, and their sisters, and their daughters. Who does not know this and can say so without bitterness?
The mercy of God is never so absent when men in the past have pressed sisters who had a reasonable anger in life, yet who were refused mercy and found themselves being abused in the churches also. For decades we called them Jezebel, and in so accusing them we laid a foundation for that real spirit of Jezebel to find an ascendancy in the churches. Perhaps even more difficult to understand we have now made those conditions in which a spirit of Jezebel is not necessary at all in many sisters because they have been taught from their cradle that men are after all worthless. Fit only to speak about mens’ things, as though our mothers and wives and our daughters were not our concerns. To which ambition we have created women groups, youth groups and sent men to have a greasy breakfast. So that our daughters who believe are compelled upon us as our sister, and our wives with whom we are joint heirs of grace together in Christ Jesus, have become other women that we can no more have authority over them lest their good attitude (when it is one of godly submission) is endlessly undermined or else where other women at the behest of some men also, call them rebellious because they cannot receive their instruction. Or else where they are smiled at and set aside, along with their husbands.
Many sisters with a real reason to be cautious of authority are being foolishly discouraged from their proper walk by preparing them for the place of authority wherein it is no longer needful for a Queen Jezebel to take the King’s seal to murder a Naboth – it is now possible for some sisters to have the seal and the title of the King themselves. In putting things in this way I am necessarily speaking of an outcome, and not making accusatory or derogatory remarks about sisters. Yet I could cite evidential accounts which the Lord opened up to me wherein this effect forms a substantial problem where some sisters with a prophetic gifting are mistering into the church, ideas that are devilish and harmful. At times this has been so dramatic that the costs has been very severe.
And how long do we imagine that it will take to reach that place wherein a Mount Carmel becomes a necessity, when there will be no need for a husband to serve as a cover for a wife who has embraced rebellion, though understandably she may call it grace? Again I am not saying this to be demeaning or provocative. I use the term rebellion because that is what it means when a wife removes her husband from a true influence upon his children. It is the same meaning when a daughter removes herself from her father’s spiritual cover. And likewise when a sister becomes an elder in the churches. We would naturally want to understand how this happens, and so if we were to ask ourselves we may hear mostly teachings that essentially mark our view out as mysogynistic, and are unlikely to provide a proper doctrinal reason to justify women in positions of authority in the churches that amount to an ability and an authority to direct men.
It is impossible here to share how many times the Lord has opened a door into a circumstance in a church where either spiritual harm was taking place by pastors, or else elders, and through the means of women most often exercising a prophetic gift or else sisters expressing their emotional demands and wounds as a basis for the pastor to control someone else. So in having the undoubted facts of social history to hand from University and knowing very well how men have used their authority to suppress many women and control their behaviour through social mechanisms publicly upheld and funded, it is not in the least surprising to find that sisters have increasingly seen equality as extending into their spiritual lives in churches. What is also unsurprising is that when social equality or else gender equality is embraced in life as a reasonable ambition, its outworking, historically, in the churches, has been seen as abusive as when that is directed through men as heads of households and elders of the church. So one would from that imagine that if men were removed from being a dependent qualification for a sister to be an elder or else in authority in the church, by being his wife, then a sister can in any event take authority regardless of her marital standing. And here is the consequence of making social policy and gender equality a directing force in spiritual matters.
To really understand that, one would have to accept how a few sisters presently, who in all outward appearance are eager to bless others with their eldership and authority, yet cannot see that when a woman becomes the head of the man, then Christ is removed as the head of His body? We are in truth at the beginning of an effect that will have sisters who have never experienced any abuse at all, who have not been stumbled by their fathers, or their brothers, neither their pastors, are becoming the spiritual head and direction of the body of Christ. How do we imagine that these sisters will be constrained when their knowledge of an improper use of authority is merely philosophical and has more to do with continued abuse in the world, with the attendant ambitions for gender equality, than understanding why men have walked away and hidden in caves? What will deliver these sisters when Satan’s ambition is to be god? Nothing will deliver them if they do not repent.
If we believe that it will be Christ, as it must be Christ, then we ought not to miss that these women will be daughters, wives and mothers also. Understanding that and ministering into its meaning in local churches is going to become more difficult than one can easily say. So the prophetic ministry, including those sisters who have that gift also, must learn how to walk in this day and serve the body of Christ effectually and purposefully. As far as I can discern myself I cannot see this happening too easily amongst middle ranking women – who being prophetic or else simply rebellious gossips and destructive forces, will continue on regardless of the cost.
Indeed given that I know that these sisters are vulnerable to flattery in many instances, I can see some men who have not run to the caves, coming forward and making of their ambitions a more substantial outcome. So from that who would you rebuke really? A man or a woman? Seeing how God judged Ahab and his household will tell us what we need to know as a picture of what is coming upon the church.
So how did the Lord judge Ahab’s family. “Know now that everything the Lord spoke about the family of Ahab will come true. For the Lord has done what He said through his servant Elijah.” So Jehu killed all who were left of the family of Ahab in Jezreel. He killed all of Ahab’s important men, his friends, and his religious leaders. Not one person of Ahab was left alive.” And if that is a seeming poor end, then the end of Jezebel was far worse. “And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window. And as Jehu entered in at the gate, she said, Had Zimri peace, who slew his master? And he lifted up his face to the window, and said, Who is on my side? who? And there looked out to him two or three eunuchs. And he said, Throw her down. So they threw her down: and some of her blood was sprinkled on the wall, and on the horses: and he trode her under foot. And when he was come in, he did eat and drink, and said, Go, see now this cursed woman, and bury her: for she is a king’s daughter. And they went to bury her: but they found no more of her than the skull, and the feet, and the palms of her hands. Wherefore they came again, and told him. And he said, This is the word of the Lord, which he spake by his servant Elijah the Tishbite, saying, In the portion of Jezreel shall dogs eat the flesh of Jezebel: And the carcase of Jezebel shall be as dung upon the face of the field in the portion of Jezreel; so that they shall not say, This is Jezebel.” Two things stand out about Jezebel in her moment of death. Firstly she puts on her makeup to establish whether there was to be peace – and though Jehu orders her to be buried as a princess, they find an exacting outcome that sets Elijah’s prophecy to a full measure.
And what of Ahab himself? King Ahab is killed in battle by an arrow intended for him when an Assyrian archer chased the King of Judah down, and finding that he had chased the wrong king, fired his arrow in anger into the air. That arrow then struck Ahab, King of Israel through a gap in his armour and he bled to death. He was struck even though he disguised himself. Yet he was buried as a king. Ahab had repented of the murder of Naboth – so he was delivered from being eaten by dogs in death. Yet he could not escape the destruction of his entire house – and his wife could not repent at all.
The prophet must necessarily see that which was, which is and which is to come in his work, if not he may miss the undoubted need to warn others what the eventual consequence of rebellion is. In that he will have to labour in the understanding of spirit and soul whilst not neglecting the flesh. He will also have to know how the soul is also fleshy. He will have to comprehend how it was that Satan first spoke with the woman, though her husband was also present and by that means to draw him into disobedience. He will also need to understand why the Apostle Paul spoke, “For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” And we are told also, that sin came into the world through one man (Romans 5:19). So how is it that sin is reckoned through Adam, and yet it is the woman who first transgressed? Understanding that is a not a simple matter of understanding the order of creation and that Adam was not taken from the woman, but the woman from the man. It is also understanding the natural man himself before sin. Which is to say it is understanding why an innocent man, being Adam, listened to his wife, and disobeyed God.
So when we now come to the end of the age and the woman is becoming the head of the man, though by a claim to an equality with the man, if you cannot see this effect then you are neither a prophet nor a man of God. You are a deceiver and a liar. It is men who first come into judgement in their bodies when the house rebells against God, and so we must look at the men who were the prophets of Baal, and the priesthood of Jezebel in Israel, under a king who was weak, fleshy and indifferent to the consequence of rebellion – save for his own flesh when Elijah tells him plainly what God is going to do to his household. It is a man who made light of the sins of Jeroboam the first king of a divided Israel, and so became the vilest king in Israel.
“Now then send and gather to me all Israel at Mount Carmel, together with 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of the Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.” So Ahab sent a message among all the sons of Israel and brought the prophets together at Mount Carmel. Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people did not answer him a word. Then Elijah said to the people, “I alone am left a prophet of the Lord, but Baal’s prophets are 450 men. “Now let them give us two oxen; and let them choose one ox for themselves and cut it up, and place it on the wood, but put no fire under it; and I will prepare the other ox and lay it on the wood, and I will not put a fire under it. “Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord, and the God who answers by fire, He is God.” And all the people said, “That is a good idea.” So Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one ox for yourselves and prepare it first for you are many, and call on the name of your god, but put no fire under it.” Then they took the ox which was given them and they prepared it and called on the name of Baal from morning until noon saying, “O Baal, answer us.” But there was no voice and no one answered. And they leaped about the altar which they made. It came about at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, “Call out with a loud voice, for he is a god; either he is occupied or gone aside, or is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and needs to be awakened.” So they cried with a loud voice and cut themselves according to their custom with swords and lances until the blood gushed out on them. When midday was past, they raved until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice; but there was no voice, no one answered, and no one paid attention. Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord which had been torn down. Elijah took twelve stones according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, “Israel shall be your name.” So with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord, and he made a trench around the altar, large enough to hold two measures of seed. Then he arranged the wood and cut the ox in pieces and laid it on the wood. And he said, “Fill four pitchers with water and pour it on the burnt offering and on the wood.” And he said, “Do it a second time,” and they did it a second time. And he said, “Do it a third time,” and they did it a third time.The water flowed around the altar and he also filled the trench with water. At the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, today let it be known that You are God in Israel and that I am Your servant and I have done all these things at Your word. “Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that You, O Lord, are God, and that You have turned their heart back again.” Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The Lord, He is God; the Lord, He is God.” Then Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal; do not let one of them escape.” So they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.”
It is essential to understand how the judgements of the Lord are carried out, in what order and to what effect. If not then the prophet will be inclined to speak to the wrong party – even though he can see the guilt of all flesh. We read that judgement begins in the household of God and yet we may not easily see what that means. Elijah did not speak with Jezebel when he prophesied over Ahab, even though she came into a severe judgement. Neither did he speak to his sons. Yet when judgement began it began not with Ahab, because he repented of the murder of Naboth, and neither did it begin with his wife though she repented not. Neither yet did judgement begin with the sons of Ahab. Judgement began with the prophets. Those who are given by God to minister to His household are more responsible for the condition of that household, than are the members thereof. If the ministers of God did not abrogate their responsibilities so easily when being troubled on many sides by contentions, fleshy effects, foolish ambitions and reckless speech, then those things would not find an outcome that produces loss to anyone other than those reckless men and women whose speech is destructive and whose conduct is ambitious. So that when we see things as they have become today what we find is that these same ministers of God have now refused their own burden entirely and have given that burden to others who though whilst not being themselves rebellious in their ambitions, have nevertheless permitted a political fact of inequality to determine that the next generation of young men and women will have no means to understand how it is that their efforts will lend itself to the Man of Sin and the apostasy of the House of God.
Compassion is also essential and experience so necessary that it is often found that those prophetic men have themselves come through genuinely distressing lives, and it is that distress, and the compassion and mercy of the Lord that ensures that anyone claiming to be a prophetic man, must necessarily be compassionate towards women and children. That compassion, however, is not a thing to be paraded – it is a thing to be practised. So in the end whilst your compassion may be hidden to all except those to whom you have been compassionate, your words of warning and efforts with those in authority, being yet chiefly men, may not serve to have you held in any good account either with them, or with many sisters. They will always be inclined to listen to the flesh of women who are offended by you, through gossip, and their own weaknesses, as well because you are a mere man, and they are the anointed pastor and the lamp of the churches. If that seems blasphemous to your ears then so it is, because pastors are now literally running to the caves and finally throwing in the towel because they would not see that which was, which is, and which is to come. By that means it has become easier to raise sisters up into positions of authority – and giving them cover – they are increasingly less pastors and have become more facilitators. So that every pastor in this mind now speaks of the facilitation of the ministry of all others, and thus cannot see his own true meaning, to feed the sheep.
It is in this reality of effects that we have finally come to the place wherein a sister, and the wife of a husband, is now called, elder, lead pastor, worship leader and visionary – all these found in one woman. In that circumstance how will the younger sisters ever comprehend the grave risk they have come into when in all reasonable speech and expectation they had thought to have come into the Lord’s House? It is a place where men are merely having fun speaking of men’s things, and many women, being of that gift of prophecy and not true prophets, are set to drive them to the front of the army to take hold of the instruments of war. Yet the war they labour in is not a spiritual war at all, but a war of the flesh in which equality is the chief ambition with men, and despite that the army they have taken upon themselves is entirely driven by a spirit that comes as a woman, parades as a woman, yet is almost entirely represented by fighting men. It is the true prophets of God that will come against that effect, and the end will be total loss. How many can comprehend this outcome?
It is a place where young men desiring to have one wife must necessarily yield to this outcome else they will have no comfort from the woman and will aways be provoked and required to be neither male nor female else he is after all an abusive man. Deception has become so sophisticated that in the end there will have to be an exceptional work of God to address that circumstance. It is revival of the saints that is being laid hold of – and when it comes an opportunity will come for the body of Christ to lay hold of an understanding that the flesh profits nothing. Yet neither will the end of this age be reverted by that means and neither will the Man of Sin and the false prophet be taken away, until they have first appeared.