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Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He was hungry. 13 And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14 In response Jesus said to it, “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again” . . . 20 Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. 21 And Peter, remembering, said to Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.” 22 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. 23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Mark 11:12-14, 20-23 NKJV
Jesus demonstrated and taught His disciples the principle of prophetic power. When faced with a mountain (figurative)—a challenge, some difficulty, or what seems to be an impossible situation; if you have faith in God, then God can do anything, according to the spirit of faith. “We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak” (Ps. 116:10; 2 Cor. 4:13). The spirit of faith is prophetic power.
Jesus operated with words of prophetic power, teaching His disciples the mechanics of navigating the spirit of faith and exercising prophetic power: say it, don’t doubt it, believe it and receive it, and you shall have whatsoever you say (Mark 11:23). The spirit of faith can be exercised with both positive and negative words. Jesus used negative words to curse the barren fig tree (Mark 11:14).
You can bless or curse with the words you speak (prophesy). You can also save your life and lose your life by what you say, i.e., by your own prophetic power (Prov. 18:21). Your words spoken will prophesy grace, favor, and righteousness or prophesy guilt, condemnation, and judgment against you (Matt. 12:37).
So, watch your mouth! You have immense power; you will have what you say (prophesy). There are consequences, outcomes, and results as the direct fruit of the words we prophesy. Words are never lost spoken in the atmosphere. Remember the prophet Samuel—as he grew, “the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground” (1 Sam. 3:19). Nor will the Lord allow your words to fall to the ground. Again, watch your mouth. “Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles” (Prov. 21:23).
But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. 18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy. Acts 2:16-18 NKJV
There are three levels of prophesy: (1) the spirit of prophesy, (2) the gift of prophesy, and (3) the office of the prophet. During the last days, God promised to raise up a new generation of sons, daughters, and servants whose lives would be steeped in prophetic living. They would dream dreams and see visions; they would walk by faith and not by sight. This is what is called the prophetic generation.
Members of the prophetic generation will operate in life by listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit and speaking what they hear. They will listen “prophetically” and act “apostolically”—seeing it; believing it; saying it; and, acting as though it were so (2 Cor. 4:13), according to their measure of faith and prophesying accordingly (Rom. 12:3, 6). They will “also decree a thing, and it shall be established for [them]” (Job 22:28).
A prototype of a prophetic generation believer today would be the prophet Ezekiel in his day. Ezekiel prophesied breath and life to a valley of “dry bones” and the bones were reconnected, and they lived according to the spoken word of the Lord (See Ezek. 37). The prophetic generation is a people of prophetic vision, committed to prophetic living according to the prophecy of the Book—according to the testimony of Jesus, the spirit of prophecy.
And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” 16 So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17 And Elisha prayed, and said, “Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 2 Kings 6:15-17 NKJV
Physical sight will look at some circumstances and call them bad or ugly, dark or empty, failure or defeat, even hopeless, etc. But faith looks to God and sees the answer according to the prophecy of the Book. Walking by faith and seeing through the eye of faith is prophetic vision. Prophetic vision is to being eye-minded, i.e., seeing by faith through the eye of your mind; seeing the reality of the presence of God and His protection regardless of the circumstances reported to the physical eye (Rom. 4:17); and, choosing not to believe your “lying eyes.” Everything that your physical eyes report to your brain to believe isn’t necessarily the “real truth” in the mind of God.
Case in point—prophetic vision was illustrated in 2 Kings 6:8-23 where Gehazi, Elisha’s servant, saw defeat and demise when they were surrounded by the Syrian army, but Elisha prophetically saw God’s mighty army ensuring victory. A prophetic vision will see through the eye of faith. It will see it, believe it, and say it, according to the spirit of faith (2 Cor. 4:13). Elisha lived by faith and saw God’s answer by faith. The eye of faith reveals that God is doing more for you than you could ever realize through physical sight alone (Rom. 8:31).
When you face difficulties in life that appear to be insurmountable, remember that spiritual answers are always there, even if you can’t see them physically (Prov. 29:18). When you look through the eye of faith, God will show you the answer (2 Cor. 5:7). Now, if you don’t see God working in your life, the problem may be your spiritual eyesight—not God’s power! As in the illustration above, when Elisha prayed “open his eyes”, his servant also saw the angel of the Lord manifested as “horses and chariots of fire” (Ps. 34:7). After Gehazi’s eyes were opened, he was no longer afraid because, he too saw God’s mighty army of angelic beings (Heb. 12:22; 1:14). My prayer for you is that God would open your eye faith to see prophetically!
“Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.” Revelation 22:7 NKJV
The prophecy of the Book is the Word of God—“[f]or the testimony [evidence, record] of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Rev. 19:10). So, what God says in His Word is always prophetic, and prophecy provides the hearer with prophetic vision. A prophetic vision is what you see by faith; thus, every spiritual foundation in life must be built with a prophetic foundation; otherwise people are unrestrained and unfocused (Prov. 29:18).
A prophetic vision (chazown, Heb.) is to be “eye-minded”, it is mental sight; it can also be a dream, revelation, oracle, or prophesy, and you as the beholder in vision (chozeh) according to the words of the prophecy of the Book. It is a prophetic vision that conveys the prophetic mind of God (1 Cor. 2:16). Without the prophetic mind of God, you’ll lose your way. For example, much like the Pharisees in Jesus’ day, their vision was blurred and their understanding was dull with no sense of God’s purpose and plan, His will and direction in life, with respect to marriage; they built their “martial house” on sand (Matt. 7:24-27). They were like the blind leading the blind and had fallen into a ditch (Matt. 15:14).
Prophetic living is living by faith—living according to the prophecy of the Book, with prophetic vision that sees through the eye of faith; where you see it , believe it, and say it (2 Cor. 4:13). You see healing rather than sickness and disease; you see abundance rather than lack; you see opportunity rather than crisis, etc. It is “walking by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7). Physical sight looks at appearances, but faith looks to God, and what God said in the prophecy of the Book. Prophetic living helps you to see God and the answer. Calling those things which be not as though they were, being fully persuaded that, what God has promised, He is able also to perform (Rom. 4:17, 21).
“Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book” . . . and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. Revelation 22: 7, 19 NKJV
Whether it is marriage and family, ministry, job, or career; you need a vision. Every foundation must be built with a prophetic vision. A prophetic vision is what you see by faith, and it answers the questions: What is God saying? What did God say? What thus saith the Lord? A prophetic vision gives you a sense of purpose and a plan, direction, power and authority. To form a prophetic vision, you must start with the Prophecy of the Book (Prov. 29:18).
The definition of vision (chazown, Heb.) means to be “eye-minded”, mental sight, dream, revelation, oracle; but it also means prophesy, i.e., a beholder in vision (chozeh, Heb.). On the other hand, prophecy (propheteia, Gr.), in its most simple noun form means speaking forth of the mind and the counsel of God. And in the verb form, prophesy is to speak or sing by inspiration of God; to see that. More often than not, prophesy in the OT had a predictive element in the message, and an indicative element in the NT.
Prophesy of the Book (Bible) expresses the prophetic mind of God. For example, when the Pharisees tested Jesus with a question about a man lawfully divorcing his wife for any reason, Jesus painted, proved, and provided God’s prophetic vision for marriage (Matt. 19:3-6). Not that marriage was ever to be problem-free, but God created the male and female as “one” in His image and likeness, to have dominion over issues that could possibly lead to divorce.
Prophesy of the Book provided for man to have dominion from the beginning (Gen. 1:26-28). Dominion means to rule, subjugate, dominate, tread down. When God formed the first man, Adam, He formed him with His hands, and prophesied life and dominion into him (Gen. 2:7). Could this be the reason why the “laying on of hands” work? (Mark 16:18). Because of Adam’s disobedience and spiritual death, now through obedience, when you prophesy, you are prophesying life and dominion back into man.
Satan hates prophecy (Mark 14:65; 1 Cor. 14:3). In fact, it was Prophecy of the Book that doomed Satan in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:14-15). According to that first prophecy of the Book, Jesus dealt a deathblow to Satan’s spiritual “skull” at Golgotha, the place of the skull (Matt. 27:33). With the Prophecy of the Book, you can prophesy life and dominion into any issue that concerns you; even into the church; and, we can also prophesy against Satan to pull down his strongholds (2 Cor. 10:4).
The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread. 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 NKJV
The apostle Paul instructed the church at Corinth that communion was be observed in remembrance of Jesus Christ—His crucifixion and resurrection. In fact, he further said that “for as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Cor. 11:24-26). In our text above, Paul further shows that communion is a celebration of oneness—“one bread and one body.” It is first oneness with the Lord and then oneness with one another. It is a time of intimacy with the Lord and His Body around a table sharing bread and wine with one another to express the true union of all believers. Communion (koinonia Greek) is fellowship, partnership, participation, and social intercourse—one believer to another.
Communion is an expression of oneness, “one bread and one body.” A fitting metaphor for communion is “One Loaf”, as in a loaf of bread. The basic ingredients in a loaf of bread are: flour, milk, salt, sugar, butter/oil, yeast, and water. Spiritually speaking, like the ingredients of bread, though we are many, communion reminds us that we are still “One Loaf.” “One Loaf” is union in Christ.
In the Scriptures, God’s first revelation of oneness was the union between Adam and Eve (Gen. 2:21-24). Oneness isn’t just bodily; it is unity of mind, spirit, and purpose (1 Cor. 1:10). The cup and the bread, not only symbolizes our unity in Christ, it also creates it (1 John 1:7). Make no mistake about it, we don’t partake of the one loaf and one cup because we are one, but we become one when we do (Eph. 4:3). It is absolutely true that in communion, “the cup of blessing which we bless, it is the communion of the blood of Christ. The bread which we break, it is the communion of the body of Christ. “For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one [loaf]” (1 Cor. 10:17).
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel. Genesis 3:15 NKJV
Every since Adam and Eve fell in the Garden, God’s priority has been to seek and save the lost. God’s first promise ever made was to send a Savior, i.e., the Seed of the woman, and the Savior would make a way. God’s promised provision was: (1) a woman would have a Son; (2) the Son would destroy Satan; (3) Satan would bruise the heel (body) of the women’s Son. After Jesus’ atoning death and resurrection, God gave the world the His promised provision, the protevangel—the first Gospel!
A provision is a supply for a need or that which is prepared beforehand. The prophet Isaiah foresaw the coming of Jesus proclaiming God’s provision (Isa. 61:1). God’s promised provision is the Gospel (Mark 16:15-16). “And this [promised provision] of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come (Matt. 24:14). God’s promised provision was to leave no lost soul behind.
But, how lost sinners respond to the Gospel makes the difference between salvation and damnation. Some will accept the provision, placing their faith in God; others will reject it to their own peril. “The [provision] is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation . . . Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame” (Rom. 10:8-11).
It is the responsibility of believers to proclaim, announce, and bear witness to the truth of God’s provision to the lost (Rom. 10:13-15). Believers must see themselves as faithful stewards of the message of the Gospel (1 Cor. 1:1-2), and never be ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus’ atoning death and resurrection (Rom. 1:16). “As it is written, how beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things” (Isa. 52:7; Rom. 10:15).
And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself” . . . Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them. Genesis 3:8-10, 21 NKJV
Many people are so confused and disorganized, where they are not able to decide what is more important, and what needs attention first in life—but not God. Every since Adam and Eve fell in the Garden, God’s priority has been actively seeking those separated from Him by the consequences of sin. God’s priority is to save the lost sinner. God’s priority for Adam and Eve was to first cloth their sinful nakedness with the skins of animals. The blood of animals was shed to picture how the Lord Jesus, as the Lamb of God, should die for sin, that we might be clothed with righteousness (Rev. 13:3; Heb. 9:22).
Priority means putting first things first in the order of things. Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount that we should seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matt. 6:33). Why? If we are God’s priority, then it’s a small thing for us to make Him our priority. God further demonstrated that sinful man was His priority when He sent Jesus in the fullness of time to be born of a woman to redeem us (Gal. 4:4-5), as the Lamb of God who would take away our sin (John 1:29). God’s priority was to send Jesus and His Gospel for the sole purpose of salvation—not condemnation (John 3:16-17), first to the Jew and then to the Gentile.
For example, Jesus always put first things first. When He entered Jericho and was passing through, Zacchaeus, a chief tax collector and a sinner— because of the crowd—ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see Jesus coming that way. But Jesus saw him first and called to him to come down out of the tree because salvation had come to his house. Why? Zacchaeus, too, was a son of Abraham (Jew). Jesus told him that “the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:1-10). Jesus could have first ministered to the sick and even cast out devils, but Zacchaeus’ salvation was God’s priority.
Although is God’s priority to save all, not all will be saved (2 Peter 3:9). Some will reject the atoning blood of the Lamb of God, and refuse to be covered in God’s righteousness. For those who have accepted Jesus Christ, you can “greatly rejoice in the Lord, [your] soul shall be joyful in [your] God; for He has clothed [you] with garments of salvation, He has covered [you] with the robe of righteousness . . .” (Isa. 61:10). Salvation of sinful man is God’s priority!
For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the ungodly shall perish. Psalm 1:6 NKJV
In life, there many roads that leads to many destinations. But there are only two roads and two destinations that lead to eternity. One road leads to heaven—way of the righteous; and the other road leads to hell—the way of the ungodly. These are inescapable truths.
The first mention of the word “way” in the Bible is found in Genesis 3:24 when God expelled Adam and Eve, from the Garden of Eden, for their rebellious and irresponsible behavior, after they sinned against God’s command. After God’s judgment of Cherubim and a flaming sword to protect the “tree of life”, they could no longer travel that “way” of life; and thus, began to die spiritually and eventually, physically.
There are only two ways of looking at life—the God-centered viewpoint, which leads to life, and a man-centered viewpoint that leads to death. Ergo, the psalmist concluded that there are only two ways of life—the way of the righteous and the way of the ungodly.
It has been said that “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Good intentions aren’t good enough. Everything that seems right, or looks right, or sounds right, or even feels right may not be right, but it may lead to death (Prov. 14:12; 16:25). Jesus taught in His Sermon on the Mount that life presents us with two “gates” that lead to two ways: the narrow gate is the way that leads to life and the broad gate leads to death (Matt. 7:13-14).
So, what is the way of the righteous? Isaiah spoke of the “way” that we should walk in and not turn to the right hand or to the left hand (Isa. 30:21). Jesus said that He was and is that way (John 14:6). Make no mistake about it. Jesus doesn’t show the way; He is the way. Salvation is in a person (2 Tim. 1:12). Jesus is not one of many ways. He is the only way to heaven; not religion, the Ten Commandments, the Golden Rule, not even Church membership. In life, there is only the way of the righteous and the way of the ungodly. Jesus is the way of the righteous.
Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. Matthew 5:48 NKJV
How can we be perfect—sinless and flawlessly perfect? As long as we have an earthly nature, we will never have sinless perfection like God does in heaven, but we can be perfect in character, in holiness, in maturity, and in love. How? Love shows the way to perfection.
Being on the path of perfection and staying on the path can be hard. For example, whenever we are wronged, often our first reaction is to get even and retaliate against our perceived enemy, and to keep score of their wrongs. Jesus taught that we should love and forgive, but is this natural? No, it is supernatural, and only God’s love can show us the way to the path of perfection, because love and forgiveness keeps us on the path.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus outlined several “higher standards of righteous” for us to practice if we were ever to become perfect (Matt. 5:38-48). Retaliation, revenge, refusing to give, hate, and not praying for those who hurt us, will cause us to stall on the path. Humanly speaking, the exceeding high standard of behavior the Lord calls for is nearly impossible without the help of the Holy Spirit and God’s love in your heart (Matt. 5:20). Once on the path, we must be determined to stay on the path; therefore, we must forget about all of our past failures, mistakes, missteps, and short-comings and keep pressing on (Phil. 3:13-14).
Love shows the way to those who aspire to be imitators of God (Eph. 5:1). On the path of perfection, we must resist retaliation when wronged and desire Christian maturity; we must love those who hate us; pray for those who persecute us; and, show kindness to both friend and foe by imitating God’s love. Love shows the way!