The Closed Canon That Opens Ears
Updated: Oct 16, 2022
What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.
The Lord is equipping his bride with the gifts of the Spirit at a rate that the church has yet to see since the New Testament was written. The prophet, Joel, prophesied that this would happen, leading up to the return of the Lord. Paul reiterated this in the book of Acts. What a time to be alive.
I want to share mistakes I've made in exercising the gifts of the spirit and highlight snares that we can avoid, so that we don't deviate from God's will. It's important to guard our hearts with all diligence and preserve the peace of the Lord. False prophets are also on the rise. And, because of the increase of lawlessness, the love of many is growing cold. (Matthew 24:12) Brrr!
We are commanded not to add or detract from God's complete, written word, the Bible. This warning about adding to the Bible does not nullify the parts of God's word that instruct us to seek gifts, such as prophetic revelation. God does not contradict himself. Believing that the prophetic gifts of the Holy Spirit are not for today, because the canon of scripture is closed and complete, is actually putting faith in a dead book.
There is a type of person who believes that they are being faithful to the Word of God by rejecting the gifts of the Holy Spirit, rather than testing them with the Word of God.
How is it possible to uphold the Word of God while casting down the parts where God tells us to test the spirits before rejecting them? He warns against quenching the Spirit and despising prophecy. (1 Thess. 5, 1 John 4) He also explains what his gifts are and that we should seek them. (1 Cor. 12)
The Bible tells us that there are a few things that cause spiritual blindness:
☠️Bitterness/ unforgiveness/ hatred of someone (1 John 2:11)
☠️ Pride (Ez. 28:17, 1 Cor. 1: 18-19, 1 Thess. 2: 10-12, James 4:6)
☠️ Religion (John 9:39-41, Romans 2:19, Matt. 15:14, Matt. 23: 17-33)
☠️ Ongoing, unrepentant sin (Matthew 5:8, Zeph. 1:17)
The most life-shattering prayer that I have ever prayed was when I asked God to dispel me of all false notions of himself and reveal to me who he really is.
We have two options. We can ritualize our own agenda and call it devotions, or we can humbly ask God, through the Holy Spirit, to lead us through his word.
The word of God, according to the word of God, is Jesus himself. Jesus is alive. Here. Now. According to Revelation, Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. When we understand that Jesus is interactive and the spirit of prophecy, we understand that true modern prophecy exists. If Jesus is the word of God, when he speaks to us, He's not adding to himself.
Most spiritual gifts have a prophetic element to them. Prophetic revelation just applies the closed canon of the written word of God to something current. It applies itself through dreams, visions, teaching, words of knowledge, encouragement, mercy, discernment, tongues and more. The gifts reveal the living word of God to be life for us, in a staggeringly joyful and personal way. Jesus highlights scripture, in season, to us personally, so that we can navigate our lives with his grace and bless God's people.
I often see arguments in my YouTube channel comments that prophecy and the gifts of the spirit, including casting out demons, are not for today. Arguments like, "Christians can't have demons" and that we shouldn't cast them out are incorrect, because the Bible instructs us not to cast a demon out of a person who ISN'T a Christian, or seven more will return (Matthew 12:43-45).
I've gone through deliverance, myself. And, though it hasn't happened often, I have cast demons out of other believers by the sheer grace mercy of God. I have some incredible testimonies. You can't make this stuff up. God is so good. But, much of the church is squeamish and wants to hear nothing of it, and so many people are not receiving the help that they really need.
Discerning what parts of scripture are narratives about disciples then and what parts are prescriptive for disciples now is matter of study and context -- with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, who promises to teach us all things (John 14:26). But, I would like to throw a reminder out there that we don't need to argue 🙋♀️. When we are met with accusation or chilliness, often, the problem is deeper than a misunderstanding God's word. So, let's have wisdom, before we choose to respond.
The demonic spirit of religion plays a good sleight of hand in the church. Because Satan can't pluck us from the hand of the Lord's salvation through simple faith in Jesus Christ, he will replace deep fellowship with the Lord with religion, tradition, comfort and shallow waters.
Now, the gifts of the spirit are not the evidence of genuine faith. In fact, We are told in scripture that some who cast out demons and prophesy in the name of the Lord will be told by the Lord, on judgment day, "Depart from me. I never knew you." (Matthew 7:21-23) And, that if we prophesy and speak in the tongues of angels, but have not love, we have nothing. (1 Cor. 13)
Christians can be deceived away from the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Or, we can be deceived by the counterfeit gifts – especially when we lust after them, above Jesus Christ. This is why the Bible tells us that true worshipers worship in both spirit and truth. (John 4:24) It's also why the Bible instructs us to not despise these gifts, but to diligently test them with his written word (1 Thessalonians 5:20 to 21). We need to seek the grace of the Lord to hold us center. He will give us what we ask for.
This post is going to address criticism about genuine gifts of the spirit, and how we should respond. I'll address indicators of false prophecy and the works of false gifts in a future post.
The devious intention of quenching the gifts of the Holy Spirit is to keep Christians from vibrant and interactive intimacy with the Lord, thereby limiting God's power in the church. The lack of belief in what scripture says about the baptism of the Holy Spirit aims to stifle effective ministry and disempower the church. (This is different from water baptism.)
Demons love to preoccupy messengers by getting us to engage with them. They never want to unveil themselves. These spirits are often jealous and accusatory, just like their father, the devil – even if they come speaking sweetly. My husband calls them energy vampires. We need to pray for discernment, so that we don't take the bait.
"Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves. Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves." Matthew 10:16
Criticism may be happening to you, as you step out in faith and obedience in the gifts of the spirit. It can happen through fellow believers, who are in disbelief. And, it can happen through demonic harassment. We have to learn to take thoughts, emotions, and the temptation to engage, captive. We mustn't be surprised or dismayed at opposition, because this is how God buffets obedient disciples.
Yes, there is wisdom in a multitude of counselors. Yes, a wise person humbly considers criticism.
But, that does not mean that we should chew and digest every piece of criticism that comes our direction. We should seek the Lord to discern the heart of its source, or we may be tossed to and fro and into confusion or deception, which is never of the Lord.
For example, it's good to seek out and heed the advice of more mature, godly counselors, who walk in the spirit and in truth. It's good to seek correction from people who know and love God's word. Who have been there for you. Who have demonstrated love for you. And even more love for the Lord. Who not only admonish you, but encourage you, also. Who affirm the fruit and gifts of the Lord in your life, but who will also point out error.
Then, there are those who withdraw to silently observe at a distance – only to pipe in to criticize or cast doubt. Do you see what I'm saying?
And, even with God's appointed counselors, ultimately, these things have to bow to the voice of the Lord. We mustn't look to the right or to the left, too much. Confirmation bias can also lead us astray. When we stand before God at the end of our days, we aren't going to stand with or behind a pastor or a doctrine or our spouse or a church. We are going to stand before God and answer alone.
So, if we seek wise counsel, we must also stay in the Word of God -- and trust God, alone. Validation mustn't ever be sought from people over the Lord.
I've had both helpful and harmful interactions with believers, since sharing prophetic dreams in pastors' offices, in person, and online. I dragged my feet for a couple of years, before the Lord stopped pouring out revelation to me, through the gifts of the spirit. When I did the hard thing and began to serve the church by sharing some of what he was revealing to me, He began to pour his gifts out upon me, again. So, I prayerfully give these things away to the right people and on the right platforms, according to the guidance of the Lord, and under the trembling fear of the Lord, while asking him to help me mature and reveal mistakes.
I hear from strangers, who write to me and tell me that I need to repent. (As if I would listen to a stranger.) But, I have even been "warned" from people in seminary that I know, personally. The Lord has a good sense of humor when it comes to testing child-like faith. 🥶
The best way to answer people who will not diligently and obediently test the prophetic because, "the canon of scripture is closed" is to kindly bless them and move on.
"Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace." James 3:13-18
I used to respond to people who are in disbelief by opening my "closed canon of scripture" to where and why it says these gifts are for today. The next thing I knew, I was acting in a teaching role that the Lord has not called me to. I have had to learn to prophesy what God is asking me to share, and then move on. I have also had to learn to withhold what he is not asking me to share. We can't fulfill the role that God has given us if we are busy doing the work of biblical study for other people, who already have their minds made up.
A lot of people don't want this kind of daily bread. It's "rhema" in the Greek, which means the voice of God spoken into the mind, where prophetic prophetic utterance comes from. The daily bread we are called to ask for in Matthew 6:11 is "rhema", not written scripture, though it must be thoroughly tested with written scripture. The better we know God's word and him, personally, the easier it is to discern his voice. Heavy words must especially be tested with this wonderful closed canon of God's word that tells us to eagerly desire gifts, like prophecy or teaching. He's so generous!
Some don't want this kind of daily bread from the living God, because he asks us to lay down our beliefs and our flesh – including our thoughts and understanding. Putting our opinions and preconceived notions in the trash is not an easy or comfortable discipline. It wasn't for me. Man's wisdom yells much louder than the whisper of God's wisdom. We have very strong feelings, experiences, and biases. We think we know a lot. But, God chooses the foolish things of the world to shame the wise. (1 Cor. 1:27) And he's the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 3:18)
"The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts, except their own spirit within them? In the same way, no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom, but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord, so as to instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ."
1 Corinthians 2: 10 - 16
I used to respond, empathetically, to critics and accusers. I wanted so badly to bridge this gap. I didn't want them to suffer harm from turning away the grace of the Lord that is presently coming to bless them. I would say that I agree. That there is a lot of danger in false prophecy. And I would add that while we must be cautious, we mustn't throw the baby out with the bath water, because scripture instructs us to do this and that . . . . Insert Charlie Brown teacher voice wah wah wah wah wah wahh. . . 🔊
You know what? None of it was ever fruitful. A friendly, welcome debate is one thing. But, when we argue cynical and "final" statements, we become a fool, because we've just been hooked into a fruitless endeavor. If people haven't sought scripture and the Lord on these very clear matters, it's because they don't want to.
Silently intercede and remember, as my husband likes to say, that "a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still." I've tried, unsuccessfully, to turn the heads of certain people towards these graces, but the Lord told me to let them alone.
"Do not give dogs what is sacred. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you." Matthew 7:6
I would have a hard time calling people who disagree with me, pigs or dogs, but the same principle applies. I often put God's word to the test by learning the hard way. 😬
The natural person does not accept the things of the spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Corinthians 2:14
It's not just those who don't know the Lord deeply, who reject the gifts of the Holy Spirit (for how can we be in a loving, intimate relationship with one we cannot interact with?) God also blinds people, for various reasons that are for him to know. Some biblical scholars are the blindest people I know, when it comes to the things of the Spirit. Some kids are wiser. It's a heart matter, not a head matter. Paul tells us all about natural and carnal Christianity versus spiritual Christianity. Oh, that we would all be more empty-headed, except for the word of God, so that we can receive the thoughts of God. Oh, that we would not speak our own vain words, but words from him. Oh, that we would all be more sheepish. 🐑 The Good Shepherd is trustworthy. He loves us.
If you have read some of my messages, you know that a grace that God has given me is the ability to pray and prophesy in tongues. I can't always do it on command, but when the Holy Spirit moves me to. Sometimes, in Hebrew or Aramaic. I don't say this to show off, but to invite. God wants to bless his people with these gifts if we will only just ask him! Paul lists this as one of the lesser gifts, but it is valuable nonetheless, as anything from the spirit of God is. I'm occasionally led to serve you, by sharing these messages, but more often, it's for personal edification.
I have a burden for the church who denies the generous and loving gifts of the Holy Spirit. But, it saddens me when people who do have gifts, determine that those who do not, to be fake Christians. I once quietly walked out of a Bible study, because everyone was in agreement that people who believe that tongues are not for today have committed the unforgivable sin of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, which means they were condemning many Christians to hell. (Not that they have the power to do that.)
Some say that cessationists, like John MacArthur and Justin Peters, tow that dangerous line. Perhaps they are missing out on the fullness of Christian joy or power, but it's unbiblical to say that if people don't want to accept the gifts you for their edification, that they aren't saved. That's up to God to judge. I had to ask the pastor who was leading the Bible study if this is what he was saying, so he could hear how ridiculous it sounds. Then, I quietly withdrew.
Whatever new life God is birthing is always met by the mouth of devourers. If we look at the life of Jesus, and his interactions with the Pharisees and the Sanhedrin, we understand there's no greater devourer than religion. The devil isn't very effective in the church, if he's not coming clothed in righteousness. He tempted Jesus in the wilderness with scripture, but Jesus responded by pointing out the scripture that Satan was conveniently leaving out. (Matt. 4)
I put together references from the closed canon of scripture for your conversations with those who are open to the truth. The events that are coming will bring to you, people who are ready to hear it. What is ahead is going to knock down wooden idols and false alters of worship that we thought were genuine. The times ahead are going to challenge our perception of God. They will reveal how much self-will is in our religion. In the church. The inability to reconcile our circumstances with our faulty expectations of God will cause some to abandon the faith altogether. So, how do we know if someone is open to this truth or if they just want to argue and shut you up? Easy. They will ask you. 🙂
1 Thessalonians 5:20 - 21
1 Corinthians 12 -14 (whole chapters)
1 Corinthians 2:10
1 Corinthians 2:16
2 Peter 1:21
1 Peter 4:10
1 Timothy 4:14-16
1 John 4:1
2 Timothy 1:6
1 Peter 4:10-11
1 Thessalonians 5:19
*Always study verses in context 🙃
When mockers, scoffers or cynicism comes, just bless them, and keep going. God promises to vindicate his messengers. It's good to ask God, if we can't hold our tongue at the temptation to argue, why that is, and leave the hearts of others with the Lord.
So, what IS the purpose of prophetic gifts? Why does the Bible tell us to heed them if it also tells us that the written word of the Lord is sufficient for all things?
One purpose of the gifts of the spirit is for deliverance in the body of Christ from bondage. Just because we are free in Christ, does not mean that we can't have stones left from Egypt that we're still carrying. These gifts draw us closer to the deep heart of the Lord, where his perfect love can cast out fear. It humbles us and kills off the pride that otherwise strangles the life of the Spirit. The gifts of the spirit apply the power of the cross to needed areas of our hearts, with surgical precision.
The purpose of the gifts of the Spirit is for the edification of the body of Christ – whose purpose is to glorify God. They are meant to build us up in Jesus and exalt the sovereignty of the Father over every detail of our lives. They mean to bring a deeper revelation of the cross, resurrection, and person of Jesus Christ. They are meant to personally illuminate the grace of the gospel that comes to guide us each, intimately. Sometimes we are given a word of knowledge for just one individual. Sometimes, God gives us the gift of mercy, so that we can discern someone's sin and bondage, with compassion and not judgment, in order to counsel them or cast it out.
The purpose of prophetic messengers who are reaching larger audiences is usually to confront the false priesthood. This doesn't mean that we should argue. A factious and haughty spirit is not genuine zeal for the Lord, but fleshly. Having a friendly debate is one thing, but we aren't supposed to stick around the courtroom of convincing, because the court has already been adjourned by the gavel of the Lord.
Consider this confrontation to be more like, delivering a subpoena from the Lord. Prophetic messengers call the bride out of the religious system and establish saints for the work of true anointed ministry.
Prophetic messengers are called to warn of God's judgment and air the Lord's grievances, in order to inspire hearts of repentance and return the church to its first love. This mercy is for our protection.
Prophetic messengers are also called to invite the church to the marriage supper of the lamb. They highlight the difference between the foolish virgins without oil and the wise virgins with oil, in Matthew 25, and tell people where to get it. They warn people that they cannot show up to the wedding banquet without wedding garments on, lest they be like the presumptive man in Matthew 22, who was turned away.
Prophets in the Bible often called God's people out from mixing with the world and the culture. Out from living in the flesh and into the pure things of God, so that we are spotless and without blemish for the day of the Lord. They call out false altars of worship that we have erected in the name of the Lord and point us to true worship. This is true for the purpose of prophetic messengers today.
You will know if this is you, because there is a fire shut up in your bones that brings you to such a state of tarrying with the Lord, that there's no other explanation for it, except for the living word of God. The passion of the Christ.
Beware of prophets who soothe itching ears. True prophets do not typically have popular messages. Many people in the body of Christ can prophesy without having the office of a messenger prophet. Sometimes, we don't even know that we are prophesying when speaking or writing, until later.
God wouldn't tell us to eagerly desire to prophesy if he wasn't readily willing to dish it out. We can flow in and out of many of the gifts of the spirit, because the Holy Spirit inside us is not limited. I don't call myself a prophet, because I have some dreams from the Lord. So does my 8-year-old son!
Some have concern about the gifts, because they think it takes the focus off of Jesus Christ – The word of God. Off of the gospel. With the wrong spirit, it can. The flesh can get mixed up in anything. There are many examples in scripture of God's anointed people who have been disciplined, because pride crept in.
But, the gifts of the Holy Spirit are still the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The purpose of the Holy Spirit is not to draw attention away from Jesus, but to reveal Jesus to us. Jesus, then, reveals his Father.
The gifts of the spirit are never to draw people closer to a person. This is why I don't actively recruit followers or subscribers. I welcome them, but my intention in sharing prophetic songs, poems, dreams and visions is to exhort others to draw closer to Jesus. It's to bring glory to God. It's to deliver people from stale religion and false perceptions of God. It's to equip people to be disciples who make disciples. It's to put weapons in the hands of warriors so that we can fight with discernment, the battle that is set before us, with victory.
I trust that the Lord will lead people to whatever nourishment he has given me to feed them with, so that they can then go out and feed others. I hope and pray that people will hear me. But, I hope that what they hear, will send them right out, again, away from me. I hope that my messages send others straight into God's word. I hope they send people into the secret place, with the Lord. I hope they send disciples back into the lost world to reach others.
So, disciples and messengers, let's bless those who will hear. As for those who won't hear, forgive, and move on. The best way for the enemy to plug up a well of anointing is to obstruct it with offense, bitterness, and debates.
"Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake. In order that Satan should not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes."
2 Corinthians 2:10