A Prophetic History
By Rick Joyner (printed with permission)
A “prophetic history” may seem to be a contradiction in terms, but history actually prophecies. The few who grasp this knowledge are the ones we call “prophets.” This is not to imply that prophets do not receive divine revelation concerning the future, but by reading about the prophets in scripture, one can quickly see that their prophecies are almost all solidly moored to a historic prospective. Why? This is one of the most ultimate questions that can have a profound impact on our understanding, and the answer is a key to authentic prophetic ministry.
The word “history was originally two words, “His, story, meaning God’s story. The bible is a history book. The bible was written to recount God’s dealings with men to teach future generations the ways of God and the ways of men. History is how we pass on to future generations what we have learned so that they do not have to relearn the same lessons. However, few have grasped this great truth, and the proverb that “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it,” has been proven true over and over again. This is why the true prophets in scripture, as well as the church age, have been devoted students of history.
One primary way that history has so accurately prophesied the future is that, sadly, it is almost a surety that every generation will make the same mistakes that the previous one did. The more the emerging generation says that they will be different, that they will not make the same mistakes, which almost every emerging generation asserts, the more surely they will make the same ones. It will take the grace of God to be delivered from this deadly cycle. And as James 4:6 declares,
"God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
Humility demands that we are not unlike our fathers and mothers, and that we need the grace of God to break this deadly cycle. Humility almost demands that we esteem and learn from our fathers and mothers, which will therefore always result in a devotion to understand history.
Those that have that kind of humility can be trusted with one of the most valuable and powerful resources that one can have – clear and accurate knowledge of the future. The church, and indeed the whole world, now stands in a desperate need of clear and accurate knowledge of the future. The desperate need will grow every passing day.
In this series, I am going to recount some of the highlights and lowlights of our ministry. MorningStar has a prophetic history – every one of our churches and every major aspect of our ministries have been built on a prophetic foundation. That means it was prophesied and it came to pass. This may seem like a boast, but it is not intended to be. Neither is this just a glorified promotion of our ministry. The lessons we have learned, often at great cost, we want to give freely.
We have known from the beginning that we were here to prepare the way for a greater ministry that is coming. We prepare the way for the Lord by building a highway, as we are told in Isaiah 40. Those that build highways must level the mountains and hills and bring up the low places. They must cut through forests, jungles, and fill in swamps. Their progress can be slow, tedious, and dangerous. Then when they finish, others jump on their roads and zip along at 70 mph through the very places where it may have taken them a month to go one mile. That’s progress! We have benefited from all who have gone before us, and we want to make the way easier and faster for those who come after us. This is our assignment, and this will determine whether we were faithful or not.
There are several reasons why the Lord has spoken to us so specifically and clearly about the building of our ministry. The first is that we asked for it. We love the prophetic, and ask for it, just as the scriptures encourage us to do (see 1 Corinthians 14:1). The second is an important prophetic principle: The more clearly and specifically the Lord speaks about something is usually an indication of how difficult it will be. The third reason is because of our lack of faith, courage, or wisdom. I have been rebuked numerous times for being slow of hearing and dull in my understanding.
So I am not writing this to boast or to be humble, but to just pass on some lessons that I think can be very valuable for the future. Acts 2:17-18 makes clear that “in the last days” the spirit will be poured out, resulting in prophecy and prophetic revelation through dreams and visions. As we get closer to the consummation of this age, prophecy will increase. This is one of the major signs of the times. Yet, it is not coming just as a sign of the times, but because we are going to need very clear guidance to make it through these times and to accomplish our purposes in them.
I will repeat: The church that does not have a trustworthy prophetic ministry will not make it through the times to come. The prophets are the eyes of the body, and those who try to continue walking blindly will simply not make it through the increasing difficulties. Yet, we have the great promise in Proverbs 4:1-18 “But the pathway of the righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines brighter and brighter until the full day..” If we are on “the path of the righteous” or the right path, the path will get more and more clear as we walk. Those who are one the right path do not fear the darkness because their light will always be increasing.
The path we have been on to see authentic prophetic ministry restored to the church has been getting increasingly clear. MorningStar has become a gathering place for prophetic people and for pioneers. Neither of these is content with abiding in the same place for long. We have to keep pressing the envelope --it is our nature. One reason it has taken me so long to write this is that I do not like looking back, but rather pressing forward. However, as I have been remembering our history, I know how badly I needed to be reminded of many of these lessons.
Just as every explorer or pioneer wandered up quite a few box canyons and had to backtrack, we have done the same. We can show you many things that can make your way easier, and we can show you some ways to avoid altogether, which can save you a lot of time and resources. For years, we used to say the most common word around MorningStar was “oops!” I have personally made quite a few very costly leadership mistakes—some after neglecting clear prophetic warnings. I would be very happy for you to learn from my mistakes so you do not make the same ones yourself.
If you are a true prophet or true spiritual pioneer, you will be both battle-hardened and battle-scarred. We have also experienced some spectacular victories—some much bigger and greater than we ever expected. I would be very happy for you to have greater ones because the church will need many more greater ones to accomplish her purpose for these times. For this reason I am being selective in what I write in this history to only include the accounts that have important and timely lessons. I will try to tell them accurately, to the degree that this is possible, being a subjective witness.
When I say, “to a degree that it is possible to tell this story accurately,” I know we “see in part” and “know in part” (see 1 Corinthians 13:9). Those who walked through the things with me that you read about, may remember them differently in some ways, and we may both be right. We actually see this truth in the way that the four Gospels tell the same events, from different perspectives. The four together give us a much more complete and accurate picture. The details of these Gospels do not conflict but instead complement each other.
Every history is written subjectively, regardless of how objective the author claims to be. However , God records history completely and accurately in what are called “the books of life.” Therefore on that great judgment day, every perspective on every history will be settled. Even so, my goal is for this to be “His Story,” or His perspective, not just mine. I seek the anointing, perspective, and articulation of the Holy Spirit, asking to see with His eyes and understanding His heart. At the same time, I know I see in part and know only part. Being such a part of this history, I make no claims to objectivity, but that does not mean my objective view does not have value or is inaccurate. In fact, I am sure that some of the lessons we learned or are learning, are crucial for the church’s survival in the times to come.
Because I am the founder and am still the executive director of MorningStar, I will start with a brief account of my own life. There is a lot more about my early life that you deserve to know, but I do not have the space to cover it here. I will share that part in much more detail later because you should “know those who labor among you.” (see Thessalonians 5:12), so I will only share at this time what I think is essential to lay a foundation for this history.
I had a dramatic and supernatural conversion experience that was so powerful that I do not believe that I have ever doubted the reality of God since that day. On the day that I was born again, I was also introduced to the power of personal prophecy. Because of this, I immediately understood what Paul wrote in 1Timothy 1: 18-19, “This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may fight the good fight, keeping faith and a good conscience ….” I have been kept in the Lord, and a couple of times I know that my life was saved by the power of personal prophecy. This is certainly one reason why I am committed to seeing authentic prophetic ministry restored to the church. I have seen many Christians, churches, and ministries lost that I know could have been saved if they had been open to directive guidance from the Lord through His prophets.
From the very beginning of my Christian life, people have called me a prophet. I do not think I have ever called myself one. My wife Julie, whom I have been together with for over thirty years, said she has never heard me call myself one either. I have had many prophetic experiences, and I have a pretty good track record for what I have prophesied coming to pass, but I think there is more to being a prophet than that. I also see in the New Testament that what we are supposed to be experiencing should be greater than what was experienced under the Old Testament. I do not see that yet and do not want to dilute the value of our spiritual currency by claiming something that does not measure up. I get chided and rebuked for this stand often, but it remains my stand.
Even so, from my earliest days as a Christian, I have loved the prophetic gifts, prophetic ministries, prophetic experiences, and prophetic people. I know they are a weird and difficult lot, but I love them and feel more comfortable around them than any others. I have learned to understand them and trust them, and to some degree at least, they seem to gravitate to me. I count that as one of my greatest blessings. I also confess to not having much patience with pseudo prophets and pretenders. Many of these have greatly clouded the waters and have made the way much more difficult for the real prophets who are arising. Even so, it seems that one of the primary tests that the real seed must endure is growing up together with the tares.
In my first couple of years as a Christian, I was very privileged to meet and develop a relationship with some who had authentic prophetic gifts. I witnessed their value and impact. I was the recipient of prophecies through them that helped to set my course and keep me on course. Some of these were so spectacular that I was in continual awe of the Lord and His people. I fell in love with the church with a passion I had never had for anything else before. I could not believe my good fortune at being able to be part of such a dynamic force in the earth, and I could not understand why anything so dynamic had not yet taken over the earth! I had a lot to learn of course, but I still see the body of Christ, overall, as the most wonderful, powerful, and successful entity on the planet, even though I know it is still only operating at a fraction, probably less than 10 percent, of its true potential and ability. When it stands up to become all that it is called to be, without a doubt the whole earth, heaven, and hell, will all take notice. Nothing in history will have been as exciting as this will be, but the preparation for it calls for a lot of faith, patience, and endurance that not many seem to have. Even so it will happen.
I was thrust into full-time ministry when I was barely two years old in the Lord. I took comfort in the Book of Acts when Paul appointed elders in the new churches that seemed to be even much younger in the Lord than I was. Even so, I was a very poor pastor. In fact, I was the worst pastor I have ever heard of. I think I wounded far more of God’s people than I helped to heal. That is probably why not many churches want prophetic people around. I confess that if I, as I was then, came through our church doors right now I would not be happy about it! My consolation and hope is based on how miserably Moses also failed the first time he sought to serve God’s people. This is not to in any way to imply that I have a ministry like his, but just that I failed the first time, badly. Like him I had to spend a lot of time in the wilderness pondering how inadequate I was for what I tried to do.
Even though I was so young and foolish in the Lord, my ministry and influence grew for a time. Soon I was asked to speak in other churches and then in conferences. I was quite determined to be another Apostle Paul. Of course, there was a lot of selfish ambition mixed in this vision, and obviously, to understate it, a lot of pride. But there was also a love for the church and a desire to see her become all that she was called to be. Because of my own supernatural experience in coming to the Lord, I felt that true church life should be everything that was experienced by the church in the first century, and I did have some spectacular experiences in my life.
However, as stated, I also had some spectacular failures. For a time, we had a fellowship that was bonded together like no other that I had seen at the time. Then I was shown that it was built more on me then the Lord. I had not laid the right foundation, and I was devastated—so devastated that I overreacted. I now know that the Lord just wanted to bring some correction before we were seriously off track, but I was so appalled at myself that I felt I had to leave the ministry, and I did. This too was self-will and sort of a reverse pride where I thought I had to fix myself before God could really use me. Of course, He also knew that I would overreact, and He helped steer my course and richly blessed me even when I had departed from His will in some basic ways. I greatly thank Him for this, but I also learned very well that He will always bless His children as much as he can, but He will bless many things He will not inhabit. If you want more than just His blessings, if you want Him, you must obey and follow him.
I had been a part time flight instructor and a part time corporate pilot while I was in the ministry, so when I felt that I needed to leave the ministry, I took a full time job flying corporate aircraft far away from my failures in Mississippi, I loved flying, and with any flying job, many hours a day were spent waiting in airports or hotel rooms, which I used to study and seek to know God better. I was totally striped of any feeling that I deserved to be a leader in the church, and I did not really care about that any more. I just wanted to know about God and to know Him. Then one day I had a vision that I knew would be a focus for the rest of my life.
Teaching Center Prophetic Community
My vision for a “prophetic community” began in 1980. In spite of my poor leadership, the churches we had in North Carolina had a fellowship that I began to miss very much and could not find in another church, though I met some very wonderful people during these times these times, who would have a great impact on my life. However, it was not really a bonding around church life as it was about outside of it. I had been shown at the beginning of my Christian walk that I would be limited in my spiritual maturity and the ability to fulfill my purpose without a strong and vital local church life, I was therefore resolved to be vitally engaged in church life, but it was hard to find the depth I was seeking
I began to inquire of the Lord about why what I felt was so hard to find anywhere in the church. Most of the ministry that I witnessed seemed to promote superficiality in church relations and a distance between the leadership and the people that seemed to be counterproductive to building a strong church. Then Julie and I found a little church headed by an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Jim Hughes, nick named Doc. The fellowship and relationships in that church were wonderful. They did not understand many things I was seeking, like the prophetic, but they embraced us warmly and were great people. We were very happy there.
Then I was given a vision of what the church would become and something that would be required to attain to it, which began a drive in me where I could not be content with just good fellowship. I was shown that until the prophets and teachers learned to worship the Lord together like they did at Antioch, He could not release true apostolic authority to the church again. I was then shown a community where both prophets and teachers would live together, loving and esteeming one another, learning to serve the Lord together. Then, I was given a promise that true apostolic ministry was going to be restored to the church, and this community would have a part in it.
It was about this time that my corporate flying job ended, and Doc. Hughes suggested that we start a small aircraft charter business together. He bought an airplane, and I walked everything through the FAA to get our charter, and sought enough business to make a living.
The business quickly became quite successful and large. I bought out Doc. Hughes because it was my nature to move much faster than it was his. Looking back, I am sorry that I did not slow down and have more willingness to go his pace, but that is how we often learn—the hard way! Before I knew it I had dozens of people working for me. I was making a lot of money, but I had very little time for the Lord or my studies. I continued to fly, mostly so I would have hours to pray and think, away from phones and constant questions of employees and customers.
Two Trees in the Garden
It was during this time that I wrote my first book, There Were Two Trees In The Garden. While it was being edited, I was alarmed by how a publisher had changed some of the statements in it to fit better with their doctrine on a matter, and determined to self – publish rather than have the message changed like that. I formed a 501c3 organization so I could do this as a ministry rather than a business, thinking this would help to keep the message pure. I named it MorningStar Publications and Ministries. I personally paid for the first printing of Two Trees and gave them away, refusing to take money from them simply because I was doing so well and wanted it to be a gift.
On the day that the first shipment of books was delivered I heard a clear word from the Lord that MorningStar was going to be much bigger than my aviation business. By that time my business had over sixty mechanics at our base airport, numerous pilots and aircraft in our charter department, a flight school, aircraft sales, and over a hundred other aircraft based with us , making our airport, which I leased from the county, the busiest in the state. I could not comprehend how MorningStar could ever become bigger than that, and at the time, I did not have a vision for MorningStar, other than publishing and distributing a few Christian books. But the Lord had spoken this so loudly and clearly that I could not deny it.
I was also determined to build the community I had seen. I bought some property, and Julie and I set about having the main house remodeled, clearing the land, and shaping it. That’s when I fell in love with tractors and earth-moving equipment, learning how therapeutic they could be. One day while I was working and thanking the Lord for that beautiful land, I heard Him say that it was indeed good land, but it was not the place that He had chosen for the community He had shown me. I was stunned.
The Lord then began to speak to me about my presumption in determining to build this community from my own resources so I could say that I had not done it with offerings. This had offended Him and He said “Don’t you think that I can provide for My own purposes?” When I was shown the depth of my pride and presumption in this, I was undone, just like I had been when I saw how far off my ministry had been before. He than said that He was going to use me to help establish the community He had shown me and the coming apostolic ministry. I was feeling like such a failure I could not understand how I could be used to do anything for Him. He assured me that this was my calling, and my failures would help me to understand how much I had to learn to wait upon Him and abide in Him. He also showed me that I would have to put my business on the alter and return to living by faith in His provision.
This is not to imply that using our own resources to do things for the kingdom is wrong, but I was doing it from my own pride, which the Lord would build nothing on. I asked the Lord to do whatever it took for me to become useful to Him. Within 30 days my aviation business, which had been thriving and growing fast, was falling apart and would soon be in bankruptcy. I was able to give the property that I had purchased, along with our dream home, back to the bank in exchange for our debts, sold all of our planes and other assets, and was then left with a net worth that I computed to be very close to zero. Just about the only thing I had left was a word from the Lord to “go to the mountains of North Carolina.”
A few months later, we left Mississippi with almost exactly what we had come with—a car and about two thousand dollars. However, I had a great deal experience, and two daughters, Anna who was three and Aaryn who was one. I had made and lost a fortune, but I had more peace and joy in my life than I had known for years. I knew I was in the Lord’s will. I had a vision that had grown stronger through all of my troubles, and I was more excited about building the community I had been shown then I had ever been about building a business. I almost felt like I was born again, again. All the years that I had worked as a Pilot I used to say that the sky was my office, and now I felt that it was in an even greater way. I felt that the Lord had made the heavens so big just to remind us that in Him there are no limits as to how high we can go. As much as I loved airplanes and flying jets, this was much, much better.
Just before leaving Mississippi, I took a two week ministry trip to visit some people in Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia whom I had known when I was in ministry before. I also was hoping to gain a perspective of the present state of the church and be led to the place where the community I had seen was to be built. What I witnessed was a church in such a visionless, purposeless state that I was almost cast into despair (this was in 1987). I returned from this trip grieved by everything I had seen.
I did not find the land for the community either. Harry and Louise Bizzell had invited me to bring my family up to their retreat center just south of Charlotte, North Carolina, and offered a small cabin for us to stay in until I found the place where I was to go. I enquired of the Lord about this, and He only said that He was going to bless us in the city and in the country, which was the first indication that we might have to stay in Charlotte a little longer than I had considered—that we might even have some kind of destiny here too.
Julie and I love Harry and Louise, and the little cabin was maybe a fifth of the size of our dream home we had just left, but I was much happier and had much more peace than I had known for years. I resolved that if the Lord wanted us to stay in that little cabin for the rest of our lives, it would be fine with me. Even so, I had something burning in me for the mountains, to find where the prophetic community was to be. However, I was also determined to do my best not to run ahead of the Lord, as “that dog had already bit me” quite a few times by then, and I did not want to go there again.
I was also very excited at the prospect of spending some time with Harry and Louise, as they where some of the finest and most interesting people that I knew. However, I remained deeply troubled by what I felt the Lord had shown me about the state of the church. When I returned home to prepare for our move to Charlotte, I went to my study to pray over all that I was feeling. I was immediately caught up into a prophetic experience like I had never had before. For two and a half days I was shown a panorama of things to come in extra ordinary detail.
I wrote a brief summary of this vision which I entitled “A Vision of the Harvest” and sent it to two hundred people on our mailing list, which was mostly our Christmas card list. When some who were closest to me read this summary, they warned me not to send it, saying it would ruin any potential that I had for future ministry. I said I did not care if it did; I knew it was from the Lord, and I had to begin sharing this vision, regardless how it affected my future ministry. Within weeks, it was obvious that this warning had not been valid. The vision was lighting a fire in many. Churches and ministries, big and small, from around the world started asking for permission to reprint it. Within weeks I was receiving letters and requests for ministry all over the world.
I was stunned by how this had spread so fast, but it kept on increasing. There was a time when I would have an average of about three requests for speaking come to me every day. I could barely answer the requests, much less go everywhere. As more national and international ministries printed and distributed the vision, the fire was fanned even more.
It was at about this same time that the Lord began to show me that it was time to restore the prophetic ministry to the church and that it would eventually mature into something more extraordinary than what the world had ever witnessed, even in the Old Testament. I was also shown that this was only preparation for the restoration of a true apostolic ministry that was to follow. He said that I would soon meet some of His best prophets and teachers. He also said that there were already some who walked in a high level of prophetic authority who were laying a foundation for what was to come.
Within weeks of this, I began meeting people who daily walked in a level of revelation and supernatural ministry like I had never personally witnessed or even heard before. Even so, they, too, had a vision for something that was coming, which was much more than any of us had ever witnessed.
I knew that the Christian life was supposed to be the greatest and most fulfilling adventure that a person can experience, but it seemed that very few had such a life. That year I began a journey that would be what I believed in my heart to be a taste of the way the true Christian life is supposed to be. I had longed to see the Book of Acts become the standard of real church life again, and at times I would think that what was happening was even better than the Book of Acts. It was that good for about three years. It would then fade back a bit, and seemed to plateau. Then another wave came, and then another plateau—then another wave, and then another time of relative rest. As they kept coming, the waves seemed to get bigger and the plateau shorter. We soon began to recognize the pattern of birth pangs or contractions, knowing that something in the Spirit was about to be birthed. This pattern continues to this day
I have had many prophetic experiences, and in them I have been told repeatedly we have not even begun to experience all that the Lord is going to do in these last days, but are just laying a foundation for it. Adventure is about to be returned to the church and all Christians will be in awe at the great things that the Lord is doing. Everything that we are doing now as a ministry is devoted to preparing the way for what is coming. The Lord really has His best wine for the last!
Printed with permission by Triune Last Days Ministries
From MorningStar Journal
Vol. 18, No. 1