Dan Rather lost his news anchor position a few years ago. Do you remember why? It was because he didn’t verify his sources in a story about President Bush's military service.
The process of verification is called 'vetting.' Vetting means to subject something to careful examination or scrutiny, to determine whether it’s credible.
The reason I’m writing this article is because I love the Apostolic/Prophetic Movement. I want to see it mature into a viable spiritual force that accomplishes what God intends for it, and not bring reproach.
I believe that what we call 'prophetic' is when we participate in the communication system of Heaven and the spiritual realm that surrounds us constantly. I've invested over thirty years of my life into understanding how it operates.
Sometimes I wonder how much of the 'prophetic revelation' we hear from some people would stand up under proper vetting? From my experience, the majority of revelation could be greatly improved. And honestly, some of it should be thrown out!
I’d like to offer a few pointers on how to vet prophetic revelation. But before I do, let me address the most important part of being a credible prophetic person. Bottom line: Develop a close relationship with the Lord, based on His Word and His Presence. Hang out with Him so much that you recognize His voice, learn His ways, and ‘recognize the form of the Lord.'
(Example: My wife and I have a close relationship. We’ve been together so long, I know her voice and I know how she operates. I would recognize her anywhere and under any circumstances. No one could ever impersonate her without me knowing it. When she tells me something, I understand what she’s saying because I know her heart. We’re one of those couples who can finish each other’s sentences!)
God wants to have that kind of relationship with you! Jesus said, 'My sheep know My voice.' So having said that, here are some pointers on the vetting process:
1. All believers have the Holy Spirit and the ability to operate in Heaven's communication system. But not all prophetic people are Prophets. The office of the Prophet carries authority and responsibility in the Body of Christ. That’s different than being prophetic. Not to minimize being prophetic in any way.
The point here is: All believers should be hearing from God, but that doesn’t make you a Prophet. It makes you a believer! It's the same principle as: just because you can teach it doesn’t mean you’re called into the office of Teacher. You may be able to counsel and pray with people, but not called into the office of Pastor. The whole Body ought to be doing these things, but we’re not all called into fulltime ministry.
That’s why the Word says to honor our spiritual leaders. Jesus has put in your life to watch over your soul. Remember Miriam, Moses’ sister. Her attitude was, 'I can hear from God too, so I don't have to listen to my spiritual leader.' This attitude provoked God, and Miriam experienced leprosy because of it.
I believe many people today carry a kind of 'leprosy' in their hearts because of this attitude towards their spiritual leaders. They hear from God and assume it means they’re a 'prophet,' when they’re no more a prophet than the man in the moon! It’s either ignorance, arrogance or pride. (And other people avoid them like lepers too!)
2. The vetting process has four main steps: Revelation, Interpretation, Application and Evaluation.
A. Revelation. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. (John 16:13) What is the revelation? Remember, the revelation is only the beginning. What did you actually see or hear? How did it come? Did you recognize God’s voice or the form of the Lord? Did it cause fear or faith? (God only leads by faith, even in fearful situations.)
Does it help your walk with God, or hinder it? Does it have the heart of Father God in it? Does it point others towards Jesus? Or are you pushing a personal agenda, or drawing attention to yourself? Be honest, don’t embellish,and don’t be too quick to assume what it means.
B. Interpretation. It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search out a matter.(Prov. 25:2) What is God saying? Sometimes He gives actual Words of Knowledge about specific people, places and things. Other times He uses allegories or parables. Not literal happenings.
If you had a dream about an earthquake – does it mean a literal earthquake? Or does it symbolize a spiritual shaking of a nation, church or system? Or perhaps it points to a major crack developing in the walls of a stronghold in your life that God wants to bring down. How does it hold up to scripture? God will never give you a 'revelation' that violates His Word. He will, however, violate your own personal doctrines at times.
So the more you know God’s Word, the more the Holy Spirit has to work with. If you're not sure what the Word says about it, let it drive you into the Bible and prayer to find out.
C. Application. What does God want you to do about it, if anything? It should provide some sense of wisdom and edification. Sometimes He simply forewarns you – with the awareness that God is in control.
Surely the Lord GOD does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets. (Amos 3:7)
Let's say you had a vision of yourself riding in a car – Does God want you to literally go get into your car and drive somewhere? Or does it represent movement, and God instructing you to put something into action? Or maybe the vehicle represents your ministry – that it should carry you, not the other way around. As you pray over it, you receive greater insight.
It’s very important to be in touch with all your perceptions: the emotions that came with it, the impressions you felt, the colors and sounds. They’re all pieces of the puzzle. They help make sense of the mystery.
God interacts with you through all your perceptions and emotions, because He created them. And the sum of them brings understanding.
A lot of people miss what God is saying, because their doctrine doesn’t allow them to listen to God that way.
D. Evaluation. As you proceed, take time to re-visit the prophetic word. You will certainly gain further insight as you go. The Holy Spirit leads one step at a time. If you make a mistake, don’t be too proud or embarrassed to admit it and make any necessary corrections.
Also look for patterns in how the revelation came to you. That's how you learn the way God uses your unique personality and individual gift mix. No two people hear God exactly the same way.
If possible, submit and place yourself under the safe covering of a Pastor, Prophet or Apostle who understands prophetic people. And don’t get tangled up in Legalism. It’ll shut you down.
What an awesome time to be alive. The Holy Spirit is breathing on the Body of Christ to bring us into breakthrough and proper spiritual order. Let's develop a credible testimony of the prophetic – and thereby bring glory to Jesus.
'...for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.' (Rev. 19:10)
© 2010 Mike Thompson Ministries