Ephesians 4 talks about the pastor (shepherd), apostle, teacher, prophet and evangelist. As we know, this deals with those equipped by the Lord to equip, empower and train the saints for the work of the Kingdom. Among these ascended gifts, also known by some as offices, the prophet plays a critical role and functions radically different to the other four gifts/offices. And it all has to do with a vital prophetic spark.
The apostle has a vital role to play in expanding, planting and establishing the church. The apostle plays a vital role when it comes to upholding and establishing sound doctrine, and protecting the heartbeat of the church.
The evangelist has a key role to play in declaring the Good News, thus presenting to the lost a message of great salvation, redemption, hope and restoration to be found in Jesus Christ. The evangelist is the bearer of such glorious hope, spreading the gift of Christ and the truth of the Kingdom far and wide.
The teacher plays a critical role to unravel, unfold and break open the Word of God, therefore making sure believers are grounded in Scripture. Thus, for believers to understand and perceive the full extent of the Logos. The teacher presents the Truth and makes sure that the saints are walking in pure doctrine. The teacher helps to pave the way in the pursuit of divine knowledge for edification and empowerment.
The shepherd has an important role to play to nurture the flock, to feed the flock, to guide, to lead and to also protect. The shepherd acts in the manner and nature of the Good Shepherd (Psalm 23), who as Jesus in His divinity leads the Bride of God. The shepherd brings much needed direction, comfort, unity and stability.
And what is the prophetic spark? Well, such a spark has got to do with anything prophetic – be it a prophetic word, a dream, a vision, an interpretation, an edification or even a prophetic action. For the prophet operates directly in the realm of the spiritual and the supernatural, and such spark has tremendous power to realign, to bless, to correct, to plant, to tear down, to uproot and to establish. The spark of the prophetic is exciting, vibrant, alive, and a mighty force that can bring incredible change and shift and shape destinies and futures.
A prophetic word can spark someone into action regarding their calling, their mandate, their gifts and their identity in Christ. It can thus provide a sense of understanding, of certainty, of clarity and assurance. To know one’s path and one’s course is so important, for it counters confusion and deception. The prophet indeed can set someone on such a path by revealing, exposing and declaring what might be hidden or buried. A prophet has many times a deeper insight into a matter, beyond the gifts of word of knowledge and wisdom, and can expose what is hidden, unearth what has been covered and bring a deeper understanding of an event. It is the spark of light and hope. It can also simply be the spark that confirms and establishes what is already known and declared.
Such is the nature of the prophetic. It can reveal spiritual gifts. It can establish a calling. It can confirm a mandate. It can settle the truth of a vision or a dream. It can help someone find their spiritual path. It can call the church to order by realigning and correcting. It can destroy strongholds by uprooting through Rhema. A prophetic spark can thus provide much-needed direction, clarity, understanding and wisdom to the Body of Christ or even individuals through both providing vision and also unravelling vision or dreams. Such visions and dreams throughout the Bible have proven to be of immense worth to speak and to understand God’s word. It has shaped the identity and the destiny of people and of nations for hundreds of years.
Indeed, it is the prophetic spark that can separate the dark from the light, the false from the truth, the deception from reality, the common from the uncommon, the pure from the impure and the holy from the unholy. It is a spark that can produce divine life, hope and joy. It is a spark that burns in the chambers of the Lord. It is the spark of God’s very Word and Will.
Imagine the life of David. Here was a teenager who was settled in attending to the sheep. He was the eighth son, being the youngest to his brothers. Most likely from morning to dusk, he would go out into the pasture to attend to the flock. A simple life. Nothing dramatic. Nothing over complicated. And by all accounts, David didn’t complain about his life. But then his life was changed forever by a prophetic spark.
This is the day that the prophet Samuel arrived at his house carrying oil and an assignment from the Lord. Samuel called together the brothers of David yet none were chosen by the Lord. We learn that David had to be called from the pastures. Can you imagine this? Here he was, leading a simple life, minding his own business and most likely not dreaming of anything great and mighty, when all of a sudden he is requested to meet with the prophet of God. And then the incredible and miraculous happens, he is anointed to be the next king of Israel! David never asked for this. He never prayed for it. But it was God’s will, and it became a reality of the prophetic spark.
David’s life changed that day dramatically. His destiny, sparked to life by the prophetic, would ultimately change the destiny of entire Israel. The prophetic spark did not only light the flame within David but lit a spark in Israel. The prophetic spark would mean the old order of Saul was toppled, and a man with the heart of God will reign. David’s life took him from the pasture to an encounter with a giant, and the courtroom of Jerusalem. Once he attended to sheep and protected them from the prey, now he was to be placed in the limelight protecting the flock of Israel against countless enemies, threats and dangers. Of course, David would also face countless such dangers from within his circles of friends and families. Yes, there is great power in a prophetic spark. It can change someone’s reality completely. It can even put someone in authority, or cause a person to change complete course as God instructs.
We are very familiar with the encounter between Moses and God at the burning bush (Exodus 3). We read “14 God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ” 15 Moreover God said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.’ 16 Go and gather the elders of Israel together, and say to them, ‘The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared to me, saying, “I have surely visited you and seen what is done to you in Egypt; 17 and I have said I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, to a land flowing with milk and honey.” ’ 18 Then they will heed your voice; and you shall come, you and the elders of Israel, to the king of Egypt; and you shall say to him, ‘The Lord God of the Hebrews has met with us; and now, please, let us go three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God.’ 19 But I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not even by a mighty hand. 20 So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My wonders which I will do in its midst; and after that he will let you go.”
Moses, once placed in a basket as a baby to survive on a river, was given a mighty task, and thus became a visionary. He didn’t receive a vision or a dream, but his vision of deliverance and freedom came from the Lord directly. It was a vision of the land of the Canaanites. The Lord Himself sparked to life the prophetic vision that set Moses on his new path of leading Israel out of slavery. Once he grew up in the Egyptian palace, now he needed to understand the courts of the Lord. The incredible spark at the burning bush would have incredible ramifications for millions, for God shook Egypt with 10 plagues and set Israel on their course through the parted Red Sea towards their destiny of claiming the Promised Land. It set in motion the giving of the Law to Moses, to be fulfilled by Jesus Himself. While in Egypt, we were also privy to a mighty prophetic action when the Israelites put the blood of a lamb on the doorposts to protect them from death passing through the land. This prophetic action pointed to the day that Jesus would die as the slain Lamb to secure our salvation and redemption. Thus even such a prophetic action was a mighty prophetic spark from God that still reminds us that in God we are protected! Moses’ encounters with the impossible were also the inspiration for writing Psalm 91.
It was indeed a mighty prophetic spark that propelled Moses and Israel on a new destiny. The palace would be exchanged for the tabernacle, and prophetically as God led the Israelites by fire and light through the wilderness so still today God leads us as the all-consuming God that answers by fire and as the Light of the world. The prophetic spark at the burning bush indeed had mighty consequences, but such is the nature of the prophetic that can propel people on a new path to fulfil a mighty task to fulfil an even greater purpose!
It was a prophetic spark that ended the reign of Saul. As the first king of Jerusalem, and loved by many, he would have thought he was untouchable, unstoppable and will remain victorious. Of course, his pride and lust after reputation was his downfall. His disobedience led to the prophetic spark when Samuel uttered the following words in 1 Samuel 15: “26 But Samuel said to Saul, “I will not return with you, for you have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel.” 27 And as Samuel turned around to go away, Saul seized the edge of his robe, and it tore. 28 So Samuel said to him, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today, and has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you. 29 And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor relent. For He is not a man, that He should relent.” The word was spoken. The spark kindled. Saul’s reign was ended and he would die by the sword. What God has spoken shall be, and for this reason, there is a mighty fire in the prophetic that cannot be quenched.
Oh yes, there was a prophetic spark that changed Solomon’s life as well, when he ultimately disobeyed God and introduced paganism into the kingdom. 1 Kings 11 we read how God Himself prophetically declared: “11 Therefore the Lord said to Solomon, “Because you have done this, and have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant. 12 Nevertheless I will not do it in your days, for the sake of your father David; I will tear it out of the hand of your son. 13 However I will not tear away the whole kingdom; I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of My servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen.” Ahijah confirmed this reality as a prophet when he foretold to Jeroboam that he would become king. In 1 Kings 11:31–39, he announced the separation of the Northern ten tribes from Solomon’s United Kingdom of Israel, forming the Northern Kingdom. It was a spark from God and the prophet that would ultimately forever shape Israel’s destiny!
And what about the spark that changed the course of Joseph’s life and millions of others! Joseph is one of the most famous dreamers, and one of the most famous dream interpreters, in the Bible. His first recorded dreams are found in Genesis 37. They showed through easily deciphered symbols that Joseph’s family would one day bow to him in respect. His brothers didn’t appreciate the dream and in their hatred sold Joseph into slavery. Eventually, Joseph ended up in prison in Egypt (Genesis 37:1-11):
Yet there was an incredible purpose to the prophetic spark kindled by his dreams. Then in prison (Genesis 40) Joseph interpreted some dreams of Pharaoh’s cupbearer and baker. With God’s guidance, he explained that the cupbearer would return to Pharaoh’s service, but the baker would be killed. His ability to interpret dreams – a prophetic spark – did not immediately secure his release. Quite a while late later, Pharaoh had begun to have disturbing dreams, and the chief cupbearer remembered the skill of the young Hebrew in prison. Pharaoh’s dreams about cows and stalks of grain befuddled his most skilled counsellors. Joseph testified to God’s ability to provide interpretations and his role as merely the mediator of this revelation (Genesis 41:16).
God’s presence with Joseph was so obvious that Pharaoh promoted Joseph to second-in-command of Egypt, especially to take charge of preparations for the coming famine (Genesis 41:37-45). God’s word to Abraham was bearing fruit: “I will bless those who bless you…and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3). Joseph’s promotion brought him significant accoutrements of leadership: a royal signet ring and gold chain, fine clothing appropriate to his high office, official transportation, a new Egyptian name, and an Egyptian wife from an upper-class family (Genesis 41:41-45). All of this flowed from the prophetic spark of being a prophetic dreamer and being able to interpret dreams! Not only did his prophetic spark aid Egypt, but also his brothers and himself! It caused Israel to be ultimately birthed in Egypt, followed by their enslavement and their exodus by the hand of God.
One of the most important visions of Isaiah is found in chapter six. This is also the earliest recorded event regarding his call to prophecy. The vision (probably in the Jerusalem Temple) that made him a prophet is described in a first-person narrative. According to this account he “saw” God and was overwhelmed by his contact with the divine glory and holiness. He became agonizingly aware of God’s need for a messenger to the people of Israel, and, despite his sense of inadequacy, he offered himself for God’s service: “Here am I! Send me.” He was thus commissioned to give voice to the divine word. It was no light undertaking; he was to condemn his people and watch the nation crumble and perish. As he tells it, he was only too aware that, coming with such a message, he would experience bitter opposition, willful disbelief, and ridicule, to withstand which he would have to be inwardly fortified. All this came to him in the form of a vision and ended as a sudden, firm, and lifelong resolve. The vision he saw was thus the prophetic spark that changed his life dramatically, and sadly his prophetic warnings were no adhered to over the long term.
Isaiah’s vision reminds us that visions and dreams are important to understand God and His plans and purposes. In his vision, Isaiah did not exactly see the Lord. He describes the details around the edges of the picture. He mentions God’s throne, and the noise and the smoke that filled the temple, and the train of his robe spilling down into the room. He tells us that the massive temple doors shook as if in an earthquake. He describes the seraphim, those mysterious angels covered with wings who flew around the throne singing the praises of the Thrice Holy God. The whole point of the prophet’s vision is to impress upon us this single thing: the absolute holiness of the true and living God. In the biblical world, the way to emphasize something is to repeat the same word over. In Isaiah’s vision, he said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God of hosts.”
His vision not only sparked his prophetic ministry to life but still today reminds us of God’s holiness. God’s understanding of Himself, the first thing he wants us to know about Himself, is that he is an infinitely holy being. Think of the model prayer Jesus taught us to say. Do you remember the very first petition in that Lord’s Prayer? It’s “Hallowed be Thy Name.” Isaiah’s great vision provides a genuine revelation of the nature of the living God. In Isaiah’s reaction to that vision, we see the authentic response of a man who has come in contact with God. “Woe is me!,” he cries, “For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” (v. 5). Isaiah’s initial response to God was brokenness. His first words weren’t a form of praise but rather a confession of his sin. When we see God for who he truly is, we can’t help but see ourselves for what we truly are. And that appears to leave us without hope. But God is gracious! Isaiah tells how one of the seraphim flew and touched him with a coal from the altar and said: “Behold . . . your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for”(vv. 6-7).
Isaiah had many visions (we read of him having a vision even in chapter 1) that shaped his prophetic ministry. His prophecies contained clear words of warning but also promises of restoration. He of course vividly and so accurately of the coming of Jesus who would die on the cross for all mankind. Oh yes, visions and dreams are indeed very powerful as they clear messages from heaven, thus from the very throne of God.
Another prophet who had powerful visions is Amos. He started his prophetic mission during the reign of King Jeroboam II of Israel and Uzziah of Judah. During this period Israel did not have any external threat hence attaining great prosperity economically. Before the calling, Amos was a herdsman (shepherd) and a dresser of fig trees. Amos was not a ‘professional’ prophet but was sent by God to proclaim his message. During this time, the people of Israel worshipped idols and were too greedy in their business. The wealthy people were becoming rich at the expense of the poor. The word of the Lord came to Amos while he was a shepherd in Tekoa. The Lord sent him to go and prophecy in the northern kingdom. Amos prophesied terrible things about Israel that the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid to waste and the Lord shall rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.
He had five specific visions. One was that God was sending locusts to eat all their plants as a punishment for Israelites for their sins. Amos pleaded with God and the punishment was withdrawn. He saw a vision of fire that started to burn up the land from the sea. Amos prayed and pleaded God and the punishment was withdrawn. He saw the vision of the plumb-line and crooked wall, which symbolized the crooked ways of the people of Israel. Amos remained silent due to the sinful ways of the people of Israel. There is also the vision of the destruction of the altar, during which the Lord was commanding the destruction of the temple. This was because it had become a centre of evil activities. Lastly, there was the basket of ripe fruits. The Lord showed Amos a basket of ripe fruits meaning the time had come for the Israelites to be punished because they trampled over the ready false balances and buying the poor with silver. All of this spoke of judgement because of social injustice and hypocritical religion in Israel.
Amos also uttered the following words to declare what God was saying: ‘In that day I will restore David’s fallen tent, I will repair its broken places, restore its ruins and build it as it used to be’ (9:11). What will be the fate for the people of Israel? There will be terrible judgement but they will not be destroyed. After all, chapter nine opens with a vision of the temple shaken by the Angel of the Lord which falls and buries Judah and Israel under its ruins. However, instead of being swallowed up by the Gentile nations Israel would be sifted by the familiar to and fro motion of one shaking a sieve (Amos 9:7-10). God is thus is going to shake Israel like a woman shaking a sifter. The result would be a purging type of judgment but through it, a purified remnant would be preserved. The dust and the dirt will fall to the ground, and the kernel of grain will be left. She shall be purified from all chaff and impurity. Amos thus had two contrasting themes with the dominant subject of Israel’s sins and a coming judgment in the first eight chapters. However, with 9:11 there is an expectation of a restored kingdom (Amos 5:3, 14-15). God promised to raise from the fallen nation a new people for Himself (Amos 9:11-12) and return the people to the land (9:13-15). God’s promise to David in 2 Samuel 7:16 remains true even in the most desolate of times. “Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever” (2 Samuel 7:16). The judgments prepare the way for God’s mercy and salvation comes only through the house of David. By this time in history, it was becoming clear to the prophets that the promise given to David can be fulfilled only in the Messiah – Jesus Christ.
Indeed, as with Isaiah and Amos, still today the prophetic spark of the prophetic is designed to lead people and nations back on the right track, to rebuild what is broken, to restore the fallen and to plant what has been uprooted. While the prophetic correct, it also many times speaks of restoration and hope. Such is the nature of God. The Lord wants us to walk in His blessings and hope, but many times we first need to destroy all things that divide us from His holiness and purity. And as we have seen, this spark comes in many forms, not just mere words. God still speaks in dreams and visions to bring alignment, messages of hope but also messages of correction.
Daniel is well-known for interpreting visions and dreams, like Joseph. As He had done for Joseph, God placed Daniel in a position of power and influence by allowing him to interpret a foreign ruler’s dream. Daniel himself had many dreams and visions, mostly related to future kingdoms of the world and the nation of Israel. These visions were incredibly powerful and is often interpreted alongside the Book of Revelation and other prophecies of the Old Testament prophets. His visions served as a mighty spark that would accurately predict how history would unfold, especially as he predicted the like and fall of empires such as Babylon, the Persians, the Greeks and the Romans.
A famous interpretation is found in Daniel 2 and 4 when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon wanted his dreams interpreted. With the first dream, he summoned all of the city’s enchanters, sorcerers, magicians and Chaldeans. Nebuchadnezzar expected these men to know what his dream was without being told and then interpret it correctly. The king became angry when the men said they could not do so, and he ordered all of Babylon’s wise men to be put to death. Daniel, an Israelite who had been taken to Babylon to serve Nebuchadnezzar after the king’s siege of Jerusalem, heard what was going on. God had blessed Daniel with knowledge, wisdom and the understanding of visions and dreams. So Daniel asked for time from the king so he could interpret the dream. During the night, God gave Daniel a vision in which the king’s dream and its meaning were revealed. He described the king’s dream, which was about a very large and bright statue. This interpretation altered Daniel’s course and he found favour in Babylon. In Daniel 5 he explained what the writing was against the wall during Belshazzar’s feast.
Joel also operated in the realm of vision and dreams to produce a prophetic spark relating to future events. The book of Joel’s importance to the canon of Scripture stems from its being the first to develop an oft-mentioned biblical idea: the day of the Lord. While Obadiah mentioned the terrifying event first (Obadiah 15), Joel’s book gives some of the most striking and specific details in all of Scripture about the day of the Lord—days cloaked in darkness, armies that conquer like consuming fire, and the moon turning to blood. Rooted in such vibrant and physical imagery, this time of ultimate judgment, still future for us today (2 Thessalonians 2:2; 2 Peter 3:10), makes clear the seriousness of God’s judgment on sin.
Joel lived about eight hundred years before Christ, probably in the early part of the reign of Uzziah, king of Judah. He was very nearly the first of the prophets, yet he spoke incredibly of the following in chapter 2: “And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions. 29 And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.” The writer of Acts referred to this passage to help explain the phenomenon that occurred on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:17-18). The spirit descended on the people gathered there so that they spoke many different languages and all understood in their language. For Peter, in Acts, this was a sign that in Christ the “last days” had come.
Joel ignited a spark, promising a time when all barriers to God will be removed and God will be accessible to all. Remember, this was hundreds of years before the coming of Christ, and even before prophesies of Isaiah. This word is similar to the hope expressed by Jeremiah (31:31-34) that God will write the law on their hearts so they will no longer be dependent on another to interpret for them. They will all know the Lord, from the least of them to the greatest. This time of widespread prophetic illumination has not yet finally arrived, despite the breakthrough in Acts 2. After all, this passage follows the day of the Lord, and a time of God’s judgement. This it seems is a promise for the end-time, a promise that is yet to be fulfilled.
And what about the spark that assured Jacob of his inheritance? Jacob, with his mother’s help, stole Esau’s firstborn inheritance. Jacob then fled Esau’s anger, and on his journey, he had his famous dream of a ladder reaching to heaven on which angels ascended and descended (Genesis 28:10-17):. In this dream, Jacob received God’s promise that Abraham’s blessing would be carried on through him. Glory to God! But the prophetic dream was of course much more than an assurance of inheritance. It pointed to the day of Jesus when divinity and the natural will be connected through the Blood of the Lamb, ensuring constant activity as those who believe are restored unto the presence of God.
Samuel was a great prophet of God. Many times his prophetic actions and words produced a mighty spark, and it ensured the crowning of David but also the downfall of Saul. Samuel had his first vision as a young boy (1 Samuel 3). God told him that judgment was coming upon the sons of Samuel’s mentor, Eli. The young Samuel was faithful to relay the information, and God continued to speak to Samuel through the rest of his life. Again, there is great power in the prophetic, and the prophetic must never be underestimated.
We also read of the pagan enemies of Israel that had a divinely inspired dream (the Midianite and Amalekite armies – Judges 7:12-15). God told Gideon to sneak into the enemy camp at night, and there in the outposts of the camp, Gideon overheard an enemy soldier relate a dream he had just had. The interpretation, from another enemy soldier, mentioned Gideon by name and predicted that Israel would win the battle. Gideon was greatly encouraged by this revelation. Talk about a prophetic spark that inspires and motivates!
For King David, the prophetic spark shifted his focus from the earthly to the divine. Remember he wanted to build the temple of God. Yet the Lord sent a prophet to David to spark to life a much bigger purpose. 2 Samuel 7 records of the prophet Nathan said: “12 When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. 15 But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16 And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.”’ What a powerful prophetic spark! David was told of an incredible lineage that would be fulfilled by Jesus Himself who would forever sit on the throne of David.
Elijah was a powerful prophet of God. In 1 Kings 17, we are witness to several such prophetic sparks. In verse 1 we read “And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word.” Yes, the word of God through the prophetic sparked a drought, during which time Elijah was supernaturally protected and fed by God.
Then we read of Elijah and the widow in Zarephath, who was to provide for the prophet. Yet we read she had no bread to feed him. It says from verse 12 “So she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.” 13 And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son. 14 For thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth.’” 15 So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days. 16 The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke by Elijah.”
By the word of Elijah – thus a prophetic spark – we see miraculous signs and wonders of a family being fed from the little they possessed! It reminds of the days of Jesus when He fed the 5000 and 4000. Jesus as the Son of God was also the greatest prophet, and all He did through word or deed was a prophetic spark that brought life, hope, direction, guidance and certainty.
1 Kings 17 we continue reading of Elijah who revived the widow’s son who died following a sickness. We read, “19 And he said to her, “Give me your son.” So he took him out of her arms and carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his own bed. 20 Then he cried out to the Lord and said, “O Lord my God, have You also brought tragedy on the widow with whom I lodge, by killing her son?” 21 And he stretched himself out on the child three times, and cried out to the Lord and said, “O Lord my God, I pray, let this child’s soul come back to him.” 22 Then the Lord heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came back to him, and he revived.” Talk about a prophetic spark that produced life and even revival! This is of great importance. The prophetic has thus the ability to spark a revival. This happens when the prophet speaks the will of God, the word of God and the purpose of God as the Lord leads for a specific time or season. And God’s Word is all about life and hope!
In 1 Kings 22, we read of the prophet Micaiah warning Ahab. During this time, for three years there was no war between Syria and Israel. Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went down to visit the king of Israel talked about going to war against the king of Syria to reclaim Ramoth in Gilead. So they gathered the prophets to hear what is God’s will. About four hundred men declared they must fight for the Lord will deliver into their hands the king of Syria. Then they sent for Micaiah, who said the following, “19 “Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by, on His right hand and on His left. 20 And the Lord said, ‘Who will persuade Ahab to go up, that he may fall at Ramoth Gilead?’ So one spoke in this manner, and another spoke in that manner. 21 Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord, and said, ‘I will persuade him.’ 22 The Lord said to him, ‘In what way?’ So he said, ‘I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And the Lord said, ‘You shall persuade him, and also prevail. Go out and do so.’ 23 Therefore look! The Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these prophets of yours, and the Lord has declared disaster against you.” Of course, the kings did not believe the prophet. Subsequently, Ahab dies in battle. It is therefore very dangerous to ignore the true word of God, thus to despise prophecy!
The kings’ inability to embrace the truth was contrasted with King Hezekiah who was faced with the might of the king of Assyria (2 Kings 18:13-19:37). Isaiah was called to provide a much-needed spark of wisdom, knowledge and understanding regarding the will of the Lord in the time of the siege. Isaiah assured deliverance and God’s judgement on the king of Assyria. We read in 2 Kings 19 the following: “35 And it came to pass on a certain night that the angel of the Lord went out, and killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand; and when people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses—all dead. 36 So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and went away, returned home, and remained at Nineveh. 37 Now it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the temple of Nisroch his god, that his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer struck him down with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Ararat.” We must thus always trust in the Word of God!
Visions in the New Testament also served to provide information that was unavailable elsewhere. Specifically, God used visions and dreams to identify Jesus and to establish His church.
God used a vision to tell Zacharias (Luke 1:5-23), an old priest, that he would soon have an important son. Not long after, Zacharias and his wife, Elizabeth, had John the Baptist. Joseph (Matthew 1:20; 2:13) would have divorced Mary when he found out she was pregnant, but God sent an angel to him in a dream, convincing him that the pregnancy was of God.
Joseph went ahead with the marriage. After Jesus was born, God sent two more dreams, one to tell Joseph to take his family to Egypt so Herod could not kill Jesus and another to tell him Herod was dead and that he could return home. All of these dreams act as an incredibly prophetic spark that shapes destinies and futures!
During Jesus’ trial, Pilate’s wife sent an urgent message to the governor encouraging him to free Jesus. Her message was prompted by a dream she had—a nightmare, really—that convinced her that Jesus was innocent and that Pilate should have nothing to do with His case (Matthew 27:19).
It would have taken nothing less than a vision from God to convince Ananias, a Christian in Damascus, to visit Paul, the persecutor of Christians (Ananias (Acts 9:10). But because Ananias was obedient to God’s leading, Paul regained his sight and found the truth about those he was trying to kill. Talk about a mighty prophetic spark!
God spoke to an Italian centurion named Cornelius who feared the God of the Jews. In his vision, Cornelius saw an angel who told him where to find Simon Peter and to send for him and listen to his message (Acts 10:1-6). Cornelius obeyed the vision, Peter came and preached, and Cornelius and his household full of Gentiles were saved by the grace of God.
This was the prophetic spark that put momentum to the preaching of the Good News to the Gentiles! Regarding the Gentiles, while Peter was praying on the rooftop of a house in Joppa, God gave him a vision of animals lowered in something like a sheet (Acts 10:9-15). A voice from heaven told Peter to kill the animals (some of which were unclean) and eat them. The vision served to show that Christians are not bound by kosher law and that God had pronounced Gentiles “clean”; that is, heaven is open to all who follow Jesus.
Lastly, nearly the entire book of Revelation is a vision John had while exiled on the island of Patmos. John’s vision explains in more detail some of the events that God had shown Daniel. Such sequence of visions are unique and above and beyond anything else we have encountered in the Bible.
It is extraordinary in detail, in scope and magnitude as the prophetic spark exposed the purposes of divinity in the light of the attempts of darkness o reign supreme. It is greater than any fantasy novel or idea, and still today it has caused much debate, wonder and bewilderment regarding its true meaning and intentions.
Revelation is just another incredible example of the powerful spark of the prophetic that can carry astounding messages of the future, or of the now, At the end of the day, the prophetic has not passed away, neither is the spark. The church is still called to take heed of the prophetic, and still today the church and individuals are led, guided, empowered, delivered and counselled by the spark that flows from the throne room of God.