Are You Called to Prophetic Ministry?

Do you have a prophetic calling?  

In The Art of Hearing God, John Paul Jackson talks about the three phases of prophetic development: 

  • Called
  • Trained
  • Commissioned

The first phase is the shortest of the three. The call happens in an instant—but sparks an incredible journey that lasts a lifetime!

There are many ways someone can be called to prophetic ministry. Though different, each way involves some kind of supernatural experience. It could be a prophetic word and impartation, a dream or vision, a visitation, or some manifestation of God’s voice. 

Let’s look at a few examples from Scripture and what they reveal about prophetic callings.

When God Called Samuel 

When Samuel was just a boy, he lived at Shiloh where the tabernacle was located. Technically he was “in ministry,” but the Bible says he “did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him” (1 Sam. 3:7).

One night while he was sleeping, he heard a voice calling his name. Three times he jumped up and ran to Eli, thinking the aging high priest needed him. Finally Eli recognized it was God calling the boy, and he told Samuel to say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant hears” (v. 9). 

God “came and stood” there (v. 10), and He gave Samuel a prophetic word about Eli and his sons. That was Samuel’s calling to prophetic ministry.

Here are two things we can learn from this encounter:

  • We don’t have to know the Lord before we’re called, but responding to Him is important. Personally, I think responding to His call brings someone into relationship with Him. 
  • A person’s calling doesn’t necessarily come with the words, “You are called to prophesy.” Sometimes the calling is a significant revelation about someone else.

When God Called Elisha 

Elisha was a successful farmer. At the beginning of his story, he was out in the field working with twelve yoke of oxen—a fleet of tractors in today’s terms! 

He was going about his business when Elijah appeared and threw his coat on him. (We could call it a mantle, but that word is linked with so much Christian superstition that coat is more helpful. A mantle in Elisha’s day was the same thing as a coat today.) 

Elisha left everything and accompanied Elijah as his servant (1 Kings 19:19–21).

Here are two things we can learn from this story:

  • Sometimes the calling to prophetic ministry is not convenient and interrupts our plans. Are we willing to obey God’s call even when it costs us something? Elisha left his job, his family, and his home to pursue God’s call on his life. And not because a huge position waited for him—he started off just as a servant. 
  • The fulfillment of our prophetic call might be on the other side of serving someone with a similar call. This wasn’t the case with Samuel, but we do see it with Elisha.

When God Called Jeremiah

Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, 

and before you were born I consecrated you; 

I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (Jer. 1:4–5)

Jeremiah’s call was significantly different than the others. 

God began talking to him when he was just a boy and told him an interesting detail—that Jeremiah had been called even before his birth. The Bible doesn’t say this specifically, but it isn’t a huge stretch to assume Jeremiah probably grew up hearing God’s voice and having different kinds of prophetic experiences. 

Jeremiah had a direct encounter with God that clarified his calling and hinted at what his ministry would look like. God also told him to expect resistance and that he would minister to other nations.

What do we learn from Jeremiah’s calling? 

  • Some people are called from the womb and grow up “prophetic.” That is, they hear and see things in the spiritual realm even as very young children. 
  • Sometimes the way we’re called gives us clues about God’s plans for us in the future.

A Few Things to Keep in Mind About Prophetic Callings

Many other principles of the prophetic calling can be found in Scripture. If you’re wondering about your own prophetic call, here are a few nuggets of wisdom that hopefully will bring peace to your heart. 

All the stories in Scripture are different, so we don’t need to compare how we were called with how someone else was called. One person hears God’s voice, one gets a word from another prophet, one sees God appear in a physical form—we are all different, and our journeys with God are different.

But each of these biblical stories has something in common: Years passed before the person stepped into their ministry. We can’t doubt our calling just because it’s taking a long time to appear. That’s God’s normal way of doing things. He uses this time to form us into people who can endure the calling long term, without hurting themselves or those around them.

After God calls us, we need to respond to what He’s doing. But that’s a teaching for another time.

If you want to learn more about the calling, training, and commissioning of prophetic people, I highly suggest taking The Art of Hearing God. John Paul Jackson wrote this course from decades of experience so others wouldn’t have to make the same mistakes he did when he was starting out. 

This course will help jumpstart your calling—it certainly jumpstarted mine!

The Five Aspects of Redemption

The work of Christ included five aspects that each accomplished an essential piece of the fullness of redemption. 

The Incarnation

In the incarnation, God took on flesh and, being fully God, became fully man. If He weren’t God, the work would have been incomplete. 

He stepped in and did more than just save humanity; He was the only One who could pull all creationinto the redemption He was seeking.No angel could have redeemed the entirety of creation. A man could have represented humanity—but not the planets and stars, not the ants and the elephants, the minnows and the whales. Only God could identify with all creation to remove the corruption released through sin (Rom. 8).

The Sinless Life

Jesus had to be perfect. If He sinned in any way, He could not have removed sin or the power of death, which comes from sin. 

He lived out the sinless life Adam was intended to live. In everything Jesus did, He carried out the two great commandments: He loved God the Father with all His heart, mind, soul, and strength, and He loved His neighbor as Himself (Matt. 22:36–40). 

In His flesh Jesus fulfilled God’s will while doing only what He saw the Father doing (John 5:19). His perfect submission reversed the rebellion of Adam and Eve.

The Innocent Death

A sacrifice had to be made. Blood had to be shed (Heb. 9:22). But not just any blood—perfectblood. 

Death had a right to touch everything corrupted by sin. As soon as death touched perfect flesh—a sinless life—its power was broken and its ultimate end was set in stone. The power of justice unraveled the power of death.

The blood of Jesus paid for the entirety of sin; this means it also paid for the resultsof sin: sickness and disease. Physical sickness, emotional sickness, mental illness— the blood of the Lamb paid for all these things.

The Resurrection

If Jesus had stayed dead, He would have been a nice example of the power of death—that it could even destroy perfection. The ultimate exercise of frustration, His death would have settled hopelessness forever into creation and proven that no matter the depth and level of goodness, there is no ultimate justice. 

But Jesus did not stay dead.

His resurrection proclaimed for all eternity that justice willbe satisfied and that sin, death, and the grave will not have the final answer (1 Cor. 15:55–57).

  • By stepping into death, Jesus purchased the right to redeem those who were dead. 
  • By coming back to life, He purchased the right to give life to whomever He chooses—anyone who identifies with His full work.

The resurrection speaks life into hopeless situations and reminds us that the end is not the end. Even when it is over, it is not over!

The Ascension

After His resurrection from the dead, Jesus sat at the Father’s right hand and received the reward He had purchased with His blood. 

He now reigns through you and me—through all of us who identify with Him and have received the gift of the Holy Spirit. He expands His Kingdom (the execution of His will) throughout the earth and is waiting until all things are brought under His rule. Once that occurs, He will submit even Himself to the Father, so the Father may be all in all—for all, through all (1 Cor. 15:28). 

As you read this article, all things are submittedto Christ, but we don’t see all things in subjectionto Him (Heb. 2:8). A battle rages around us, but we live in peace as we keep our eyes on Jesus, our victorious King.

Because we are seated with Jesus in heavenly places, we’re able to grasp that what we see in this realm—even what we’ve been taught and what we’ve experienced—is partial at best and a deception at worst. Only God is truth. Our lives are hidden in Him, and so we think like He thinks; we set our minds on heavenly things (Col. 3:1–4).

What Does This Mean for You? 

If you identify with Jesus’ work and submit yourself to Him and His work, you can access the power inherent within it! 

If you haven’t accessed that power yet, you can start right now. Just proclaim out loud your surrender to Jesus and your need for His redemption and forgiveness. Then allow His Holy Spirit to empower you to live out that surrender for the rest of your life, both now on earth and for eternity in Heaven.

Here’s a beautiful look at how Jesus’ work affects you personally. 

The Incarnation

You can go to Jesus for complete healing (Isa. 53:5).

Whatever illness or infirmity you’re dealing with, whatever your family is dealing with, whatever your friend is dealing with—you can take it to Jesus and fully expect the power of His innocent death to remove it. The shedding of His sacred blood is a promise thatallsin and everything sin brought into creation will unravel and be completely removed.

The Sinless Life

You are “one spirit” with God and a partaker of His divine nature (1 Cor. 6:17; 2 Pet. 1:4).

Because you are one with the Lord, you can tap into the power of the incarnation. In other words, you can access Hispower to love Him with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. The incarnation also allows you to love your neighbor as yourself. 

Since you are a partaker of His divine nature, you are able to live out His life on the earth, in union with the power of His holiness. 

The Innocent Death

You are completely free from shame (1 John 1:9).

Because Jesus died a sinless death, youget to live a life free of sinand the corruption it brings. When you confess your sins, God is faithful not just to forgive you—but also to wipe you clean of all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

This means you can be completely, totally, 100 percent free from shame. You don’t have to pay for your mistakes or even your intentional sins; you can bring them to Jesus, because He has already paid for them.

Shame is often a sign of self-hatred, self-sufficiency, defeatism, and sometimes even pride, because we think we can handle our sins on our own. 

If you’re dealing with shame, surrender it to God. Let Him forgive you, and stop trying to take care of it yourself.  

The Resurrection

You have hope through the power of the resurrection (1 Cor. 15:55–57).

No matter what your situation looks like, God can redeem and change it in an instant. Death has no hold over you. Your body may die, but you will live on in an eternal body in God’s presence—a body that looks just like His.

With Jesus, even dead things can come back to life (Ez. 37:1–6).

The Ascension

You are seated in heavenly places (Col. 3:1–4).

You get to walk in the power and authority of God. All authority is His, and He has commissioned you to go into the world and tell people about Him and what He’s done, demonstrating His life with your life—through the way you love others, honor Him, walk in power, and hold on to hope.

As you do these things, the people around you will see Him. They will come to experience His life for themselves, and whole nationswill change (Matt. 28:18–20). Not because you have it all together—but because He promised He would always be with you. 

In my next article, I’ll write about how the five aspects of redemption apply to fivefold ministry.

The Divine Drama

I wrote this article for our September Tribe News, our monthly communication with our Tribe members. I thought that it would be a good one to share with everyone as this issues affects us all. We pray you will be blessed, encouraged, and equipped as you read it.—John

Several years ago in Jerusalem, I had some free time to wander around and experience the city. So I went to one of my favorite spots—a little shop in the Jewish quarter (called Shorashim) of the Old City. Moshe and his brother opened the shop in 1986 as a venue for learning and dialogue. I have learned some amazing things about Scripture from Moshe, and to this day I always prioritize a visit when I’m in Jerusalem. 

On this visit, Moshe talked about the “Table of Nations.” Though he didn’t use that specific term, he said each of the 70 nations listed in Genesis 10 carried an aspect of God’s nature He dispersed at Babel when He sent the people out to their own territories. Every bloodline on earth draws from these roots. Moshe believes the gift given to the Jewish people will bring all the other aspects together, which is why God blessed Abram to be a blessing and promised all nations would be blessed through him.

I’ve been studying and meditating on this concept for about a decade now, and I’ve put a few things together that I would like to share with you. 

The Number of God’s Name

One ancient Jewish tradition says there is a 72-letter name of God that fully reveals His character. This name could be spoken only once a year by the high priest and only in the Most Holy Place, which the priest entered on the Day of Atonement. As you can imagine, the pronunciation of this name was incredibly sacred and has since been lost.

The Number of God’s People

Seventy nations make up the Table of Nations, but this number doesn’t include Abraham who became two nations: Israel and Ishmael. Each of the 70 nations was given a “god” to rule over it, which is the divine council of gods mentioned in Psalm 82. I suggest reading the whole psalm, but here I’ll highlight verses 1 and 8 (ESV):

God has taken His place in the divine council;

in the midst of the gods He holds judgment…

Arise, O God, judge the earth;

for You shall inherit all the nations!

Deuteronomy 32:8–9 says God determined the borders of the nations according to the number of the “sons of God,” the name given to the divine council mentioned in Psalm 82. 

So from Babel until now, we see an interesting thing at work in our history. The story God is telling with us is a divine drama in which He has laid claim to every bloodline and is allowing humanity to play out its part: The nations get to choose whose rule they will embrace. Will they follow God? Or will they make another choice?

Stories of God’s Strength

This divine drama connects a couple of other stories from the Old and New Testaments. 

When Jacob journeyed to Egypt, his family numbered 70. Centuries later when God delivered His people out of Egypt, the Bible says He judged Egypt’s gods. Some theologians suggest the 10 plagues were directed at different gods the Egyptians worshiped.

In the New Testament, Jesus sent out the 12 apostles to heal the sick, cast out demons, and preach the Gospel of the Kingdom. A short time later, He sent out 72 others (some manuscripts say 70) to do the same things. He gave them power and authority to do exactly what the apostles were doing: healing the sick, casting out demons, and preaching the Gospel. 

When they returned, Scripture records a high-level demonic power being cast out of Heaven:

The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name!” And He said to them, “I saw satan fall like lightning from heaven.” (Luke 10:17–18)

The Tower of Babel

As my friend Moshe says, God gave every nation dispersed at Babel something very special—a part of His character. This piece of God could be seen in the language they spoke, in their creativity, and in their culture. In Genesis 11 when these individual pieces came together to build a tower, the manifestation of God’s personhood was so strong that it opened up a space on earth that could actually reach into the heavens. (God wasn’t concerned with the tower’s physical height—it was much more than that.) 

Today God is bringing all the aspects of His name and His person back together in a people. What He scattered at the tower of Babel saw a glimpse of unity in the Upper Room. When the Spirit gave holy utterance to a people, Heaven touched earth. 

Every Nation

You and I play an important role in this divine drama—we are witnesses in a legal case for the rulership of earth. God gave us authority on this ball of dirt that’s the center of creation, and the enemy constantly tries to usurp that authority. Through the work of Jesus Christ, God took back everything Adam and Eve lost in the garden. There will come a day when a representation of every tribe, tongue, and nation will stand in the throne room, giving God the worship He deserves (Rev. 7:9).

That’s why Jesus said this Gospel of the Kingdom must be preached to all nations (ethnic groups) and then the end will come. The voice of God can be only partially revealed in any one language or nation, and it will be revealed in its fullness when His multifaceted Bride stands before Him in glory. 

To that day we look, working with all His energy that powerfully operates within us, so the King will receive the worship that is His due: every tongue, every nation, proclaiming, 

Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen. (Rev. 7:12)

Thank you for helping us take this message of healing, deliverance, and salvation to the ends of the earth. Your prayers and financial support are bearing fruit in changed lives and restored hearts!

In His love,

John E. Thomas

P.S. In September we will be releasing a series of messages I did on spiritual warfare that will shed some light on the battle happening around us, as well as the right and wrong ways to engage in it. The series will be free on the Streams app, which you can download from your app store.

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