Select Page

Interpreting a Recent Dream about Leadership

This article is part two of a series, going out specifically to those leaders in various cities connected in some way to our ministry work.

Thank you for caring for God’s flock with love and integrity. I hope these exercises in discernment help you to understand the Scriptures, and therefore help you lead more effectively and biblically. The Lord has appointed this time to address his people about authentic leadership in his kingdom. We want to be “beautiful in [that] season” (Eccl 3:1-11).

Does Anybody Really Know What Time it Is?

It is quite clear that Jesus is amid his church, purging us of hidden sins, abuse, and corruption.

But we must also see that he is purging his church of unhealthy forms of leadership.

To yield to Jesus’ fiery, purging gaze on this issue, however, is a great challenge. Many ministry systems are built on popular but unbiblical views of leadership we wish to avoid.

As local leaders, we want to align ourselves with the Scriptures and the Lord’s purpose for this season.

That means we must humble ourselves under his mighty hand and let him confirm us as leaders according to the high standards in his Word (1 Tim 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Pet 5:1-5), according to the clear call of the Spirit (Acts 13:1-3; 14:23; 1 Tim 1:18; 4:14), and according to fruit-bearing character clearly proven in the context of a local church and affirmed by authentic church planters and local elders (Acts 13:1-3; 16:1-3; Eph 4:1-16; 1 Tim 4:14).

Do not misinterpret the season.

Some are making that mistake. They do not know what time it is.

I would advise us not to follow their lead.

“There is a time for every matter under heaven… a time to keep and a time to throw away; a time to tear apart and a time to sew together; a time to be silent and a time to speak” (Eccl 3:1, 6-7).

We live during a time of spring cleaning. Passover is coming, and the Lord is getting ready his house.

He is throwing some things away he no longer wants to keep. We should not keep them; we should let him throw them out.

He is tearing some things apart. We should not try to sew them up; we should let him tear them to pieces.

He is silencing many opinions and falsehoods. We should not listen to them any longer; we should silence them in our heads—and perhaps on our devices.

But we should speak the truth in love.

You faithful shepherds should speak.

The church should speak. That is what an equipped, mature church does. It is not passive; it is active.

“We are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of people, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, that is, Christ” (Eph 4:14-15, emphasis added).

The healthy, local body of Jesus Christ is irreplaceable and irrepressible.

We need that church restored, led by humble leaders of integrity who equip the saints rather than use them as their platform and audience. So let us hear what the Spirit is saying through the Scriptures and, as healthy churches, let us speak.

Proclaim the gospel. Teach the gospel. Prophesy the Spirit’s messages in accordance with the gospel.

Voices on social media often say nothing even when they are “speaking.” Their authority is derived from their audience, not God.

History will not remember what we pontificate on self-made platforms. But God will remember what his humble, covenant people say to one another (Mal 3:16-18). This local, self-edifying speech empowers the saints to speak to the world with divine authority (Eph 4:16; Heb 3:12-15).

Let me make the purpose of these articles clear. I am not writing generically for the mirage audience of social media. I write for you, fellow leaders, who pastor and equip saints in your city, on the ground, in reality.

If you feel these articles can help others, you are free to share them however you wish. I do believe the broader church needs to return to the offensively-simple, biblical principles these articles seek to articulate. 

Still, it is important to note that I speak specifically into a group of leaders where God has given me some degree of authority to serve. It is not my interest to hoist myself up and blast my thoughts to an audience so broad and generic, that the mere attempt does more for my ego than for people’s lives.

If you want to share this article, please do not share it without first allowing it to serve its intended purpose: that you take these crucial, biblical principles to heart for yourselves as leaders in God’s Kingdom.

With you, I am trying my best to do this, along with my family and fellow leaders in our ministry work. I urge you to do the same.

Jesus died for the saints you serve. They deserve leaders who are real-life examples of Christ-likeness rather than online specters who use God’s sheep as a support base (Gal 6:13).

With that…

Let Us Test the Spirits

On January 26, 2024, Jeremiah Johnson posted a dream and its interpretation on Facebook.

This dream-and-interpretation must be tested because it makes some bold claims into critical, current issues that face the broader church. I am not sure how widely this dream has been accepted. But since it seems some have accepted it, and since it has been published on a public forum, it must sustain the broader church’s close scrutiny. 

Scripture commands us to test the spirits and judge prophecy (1 Cor 12:10; 14:29; 1 Thess 5:20-22; 1 John 4:1).

The recent crisis surrounding IHOPKC in the charismatic world has exposed a sickness that must be healed through repentance on a scale vast and deep. In my view, though, this disease would not have metastasized so successfully over a long period of time if there were not two pre-existing conditions:

First, a profound lack of biblically-based discernment.

Second, a model of leadership that is wholly unbiblical.

I do not see how we can be healed unless we face our long-held, systemic problems honestly before God’s Word, but also with hope in our gracious Shepherd and Head, Jesus Christ.

We need his discernment and leadership, rooted in the Scriptures and anointed by the “Spirit of wisdom and revelation” (Eph 1:17). 

Note that “discernment” does not mean we become cynical watchdogs who find our identity in constant suspicion and criticism (Matt 7:1-5). It rather means we obey the Scriptures cited above in order to protect our innocence, as well as the innocence of our churches (Matt 5:8).

We must become like children, in the image of the Son (Matt 18:1-4; Rom 8:29). But his innocence demands that we exercise discernment and follow God’s Word. Childlike innocence requires biblically grown-up reasoning: “Do not be children in your thinking. Instead, be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature” (1 Cor 14:20).

Innocence is a glorious, divine virtue. It remains childlike in purity, wonder, joy, and faith. And it still refuses to follow the voice of strangers (John 10:5). 

It tests everything (1 Thess 5:19-22).

It is Berean (Acts 17:10-11).

Make no assumptions. Guard your innocence.

The more we mature spiritually, the more childlike innocence we develop.

King Jesus is today exposing the enemy’s attempts to rob his children of their innocence through false leadership (Ezek 34:1-16; John 10:1-18).

So this essay is an exercise in discernment regarding a dream about leadership. My primary bases for this exercise will be the Bible and the public confession of Mike Bickle (hereafter, “MB”), applied to Jeremiah Johnson’s dream. I have asserted in the previous article that if we take the confession by itself, even without other testimonies, we have enough to know MB was not legitimate for much of his public ministry—at least from “20+ years ago.”

I further contended that everything connected to him in ministry should be reevaluated.

These are two important background points for the following evaluation. So if you need to read the first article, you may find it here.

The dream by Jeremiah Johnson (hereafter, “JJ”), and its interpretation, claim to address the current IHOP situation. You may find that dream posted here.

Please read it carefully before reading this article.

JJ’s dream, in my estimation, does not hold up to the scrutiny of Scripture. Nor does it hold up to the actual facts of the situation involving MB, IHOP, and their combined history.

Further, it assumes, affirms, and perpetuates a popular but unbiblical view of leadership.

And its propositions fail to reflect a biblical perspective on the current crisis.

I see at least six elements of the dream that wilt under the sunlight of Scripture:

First: Contextus Vaticanus?

The setting for the dream begins in Rome, at the Vatican, with MB playing the symbolic role of a former “pope.” Many would immediately recoil at this picture, naturally assuming the dream intends the Catholic setting to carry a negative message.

After all, the idea of a Charismatic-Evangelical “pope” ruling from a central location with overtones of Roman authority structures is radically unbiblical and, frankly, obscene.

However, the dream clearly conveys the “crown” on MB’s head as a positive image: it was given to MB by God at one point (symbolizing “authority and favor”), it represents authority to “govern” the prayer movement, and then it is taken and given to good men and one people group. (We will discuss the crown by itself further below.)

So clearly the crown conveys a positive image.

And the crown cannot be separated from its Vatican context. If the crown communicates positively about God-given authority within the dream, that is how I must take the physical setting of that crown—Rome.

JJ clearly integrates these elements: Vatican, Rome, pope, crown, MB, and the distribution of the crown. They all co-mingle in the same portrait of the dream. Together they communicate the same message. And later in the dream, JJ speaks favorably of MB’s former authority.

So if the crown is positive, and the crown is worn by the pope in the Vatican, then by association, the Catholic setting is a positive symbol within the dream. It conveys MB’s once-held authority that others must now carry on.

In this light, what kind of authority is being expressed here? Rome and the papacy conjure up images of rigid hierarchy that squarely contradicts Jesus’ teachings on leadership in his kingdom—the exact culture of leadership we aspire to follow.

Jesus calls leaders to eliminate hierarchy (Matt 20:25-28), to shun titles (Matt 23:8-12), to wash feet (John 13:1-17), and to serve like servants rather than rule like Protestant Popes (Mark 10:41-45)!

And yet this papal, unbiblical view of leadership is the central theme that runs like a river throughout the whole dream—sometimes overtly and sometimes subtly—from MB, to JJ, to four out of the five new recipients.

Here is where we as local leaders must discern and learn. The kind of leadership being assumed, confirmed, and redistributed in this dream—rather than denounced—is both unbiblical and dangerous.

Yet it is a style of leadership that is typical throughout the charismatic world. It has caused grave damage, and was one factor in enabling the present crisis surrounding IHOP.

Despite this, here we have it adopted and advanced in a dream that purports to represent God’s future intention for this crisis.

Jesus is not endorsing the view of authority this dream presents.

He is purging it from his church.

This kind of leadership leads to control, abuse, and resistance to the Spirit of Christ.

So I repeat: This dream does not convey a view of authority from God’s perspective, a view he makes clear throughout the New Testament, particularly in Jesus himself.

The dream rather addresses authority from a perspective that is worldly, hierarchal, top-heavy, carnal, controlling, and VIP-oriented. For this reason alone, in my view, the dream should be rejected. How could the rest of the dream not follow in the wake of this error?

The dream consistently portrays church authority from a more Catholic point of view than from a Christ-like one.

This image of authority is the pervasive defect, the terrible ghost that haunts the entire dream—as well as many of our modern church systems.

Second: A Papal Tiara?

The image of a leader in the body of Christ wearing a papal tiara is not merely unbiblical; it is anti-biblical. It is inappropriate to view MB this way at any time in his history—even without his sins.

While crowns are mentioned for believers in the New Testament, and for elders in particular in 1 Pet 5:4, they are never given until the age to come.

In fact, in the previous Scripture reference, Peter tells the local elders not to oversee God’s people with hierarchical power structures: “not as exercising rulership over those allotted to your care, but rather be examples to the flock…” Then he tells them when they will receive their crowns: “…and when the Chief Shepherd is revealed, you will receive [future tense] the unfading crown of glory.”

I believe I can accurately paraphrase Peter’s words for the sake of my point:

“You elders, do not lead people as if you wear a crown now, so that you will be given a crown later—after the Chief Shepherd comes and approves of the way you led by example rather than by positional power.”

Crowns of authority come only in the age to come, after a life of humble service in this age. 

God’s kind of leaders get crowns later if they refuse to wear crowns now.

The images of MB’s papal tiara, followed by others’ receiving pieces of that crown, flies squarely in the face of Peter’s words.

Further, Paul speaks of his crown, which will be awarded to him in the future, “on that Day” (2 Tim 4:8). The person who perseveres under trial will receive the crown of life in the future “once he has been approved” (James 1:12). The city church of Smyrna is promised the crown of life in the future if they are “faithful till death” (Rev 2:10).

Jesus tells the church of Philadelphia to “hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown” (Rev 3:11). The context implies this is also for the future, since Jesus first tells them, “I am coming quickly,” and they must “hold fast” what they have. At any rate, this particular crown is promised to a whole church, not a leader.

Elsewhere, humankind wears a crown of dominion over creation (Psa 8:5), which ultimately goes to Jesus as the Son of Man (Heb 2:7, 9). Monarchs in the Old Testament wear crowns (2 Sam 12:30, etc.). Elders around God’s throne wear crowns and robes in the heavenly city, in the age to come (Rev 4:4).

But none of these apply to particular ministry leaders in this age.

Paul speaks of his churches as crowns on his head (Phil 4:1; 1 Thess 2:19). But these references do not speak of current leadership; they speak rather of future, shared glory in the parousia.

The Bible never portrays present-day leaders as popes wearing crowns! Much to the contrary, the New Testament portrait is precisely the opposite. 

“Jesus… knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself. Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded” (John 13:1-5, emphasis added).

Kingdom leaders are outfitted like slaves: with basins and towels for washing feet.

Not crowns.

Yet this dream symbolizes Christian leadership with a papal crown as a matter of course—it is taken for granted that this is acceptable rather than appalling.

That believers read this dream and concur with this image, or at least overlook it, speaks far more to the acute spiritual illness in our theology than to the accuracy of the dream.

The fact that MB’s papal crown was taken away does not negate the more general error that he—or others—would wear it at all.

Scripture’s radical teaching on servant leadership contradicts this rather menacing view of leadership-with-a-crown found in the dream.

Still, JJ interprets its meaning clearly: “I knew the crown represented authority and favor with God and man.”

But this is impossible. God would not give a “crown” of “authority and favor” to a man thoroughly disqualified from Christian leadership. MB’s own confession in light of Scripture, as well as the testimonies against him, insist he was not qualified since before IHOP began.

Even if God gave crowns of leadership to “spiritually govern” in this age, MB never had one.

Yet the dream implies that God formerly qualified and launched MB into ministry, but he fell along the way.

JJ says: “I had this sense in the dream that his salvation and heavenly treasure was [sic] secure but that he was being stripped of his crown (authority) in the earth to spiritually govern in the years ahead.”

But on the contrary, MB was never qualified during the span the “crown” represents. He cannot be stripped of what he never had.

There is no doubt this implies MB’s past qualifications before God, or else the “crown” would carry no value to be given to other leaders.

MB assumed authority, but he was not granted authority by God “to spiritually govern.”

Now consider the crown from its description of “favor.”

In order for MB to enter and remain in ministry while entrapped by sin, thoroughly unrestored, and therefore disqualified, he had to hide his sins intentionally and, because he was disqualified, elevate himself.

For a leader to engage in ongoing ministry under these circumstances, while also empowering a culture to accommodate these circumstances, requires more than self-deception.

It requires self-exaltation, which is pride.

And pride is incompatible with Jesus’ teachings on leadership, as well as the Spirit of Jesus himself as a leader.

No, the heart and soul of everything “leadership” in God’s Kingdom is rooted in, saturated in, and abounding in the utter humility of our Lord Jesus Christ (John 13:1-17; Phil 2:1-11).

“God opposes the proud, but gives favor to the humble” (James 4:6). Favor does not go to leaders who refuse to humble themselves but instead exalt themselves.

God resists the proud…

He does not give them crowns of favor.

So on the one hand, the crown as a symbol of “authority” contradicts MB’s unrestored status.

On the other hand, the crown as a symbol of “favor” contradicts MB’s self-exaltation.

Scripture does not support the suggestion that the Holy Spirit is speaking through a papal crown of authority and favor. It rather supports the opposite:

Our crowning of papal leaders is an illness in the church that must be healed through repentance, not redistribution.

Let us humble ourselves and fear the Lord.

The dream subscribes to an unbiblical view of leadership that it should be exposing and renouncing, not assuming and affirming.

Our original problems persist.

(Later, you may refer to the “Appendix” at the end of this article for my rebuttal to an analogy that uses Judas’ leadership as one possible way of viewing MB’s leadership in JJ’s dream.)

Third: A New Pope?

As the dream unfolds, JJ becomes the central figure enrobed as God’s agent to dole out the “pope’s” ministry crown to others.

The problem with this image should be self-evident.

It is troubling to me—and in my view, contrary to the Spirit of Christ in leadership—that one man should address a “fallen pope,” only then to become the main man who then doles out that pope’s crown.

In my opinion, this image by itself should invoke alarm.

We are in a crisis that has not yet been fully unpacked. And one root of this crisis comes from the fact that we put men in positions of power without proper process or accountability. But here we have a man dreaming his own dream with himself as the central figure with remarkable authority to distribute ministry authority to others (including a whole people group).

From the perspective of the New Testament, as well as trying to “read the room” of the recent crisis, this image does not move hurting souls toward health and restoration. We do not need a new central figure to assign a papal “crown” to other key leaders. We rather need a Spirit-empowered revolution away from this pattern and back to biblical leadership.

To have a dream where the dreamer implicitly declares himself the key man to clarify and appoint for us the new leaders in the prayer movement, seems unfitting and toxic.

When the apostles appointed elders in churches, they either worked in pairs (Acts 14:23) or in clear conjunction with others (Titus 1:5). Further, Timothy was given a grace-gift for leadership through prophecy and the laying on of hands, locally, by a team of elders (1 Tim 4:13; see also Acts 16:1-2).

This is why Paul, as an apostle, gave Timothy and Titus, younger apostles, authority and instructions to appoint local elders (1 Tim 3:1; Titus 1:5). They did not work alone—they worked in tandem with one another and the local churches.

Someone was always on the ground locally to test the qualifications in a local church context.

Such holy appointments were never bestowed through a dream, by one man, from a distance, for four separate people and locations—and one people group!

God does not operate this way. It seems to me, in view of the New Testament patterns, if the Spirit did prophetically call out a person or people for ministry leadership, it would still occur in the context of the local church for confirmation, as well as prayer, fasting, and laying on hands (Acts 13:1-3).

One might say that some local churches could still surround the four men and confirm JJ’s dream. But that still begs the question: why?

Why should a local church trust a dream with such anti-biblical images of leadership to then appoint new leaders—or an entire people group!—to ministry positions? This seems random and, to me, completely off the rails. Are there no elders and prophets in these locations?

Are there no authentic apostles with actual authority in the Spirit, who have deep, historical relationships with the local churches of these men?

Yet in the dream, JJ mounts a horse to deliver “pieces” of MB’s illegitimate crown that indicate “authority” for various ministry roles.

I am sure the men JJ visits to give ministry authority are good men. But if I were them, I would not want to be associated with MB’s crown nor JJ’s implicit claims.

God seeks to deliver us from these practices, not affirm them.

Amid a major crisis in the charismatic world, it seems quite inappropriate that a man would dream of himself as God’s agent to appoint others into ministry, and then post it on Facebook for everyone to see.

The ethos reflected in this aspect of the dream does not come from the biblical value system we leaders have embraced. It is not the Jesus Way of leadership that joins us together as Kingdom leaders.

I plead again: remain faithful to the biblical teachings and vision.

We are no longer in the era of the Old Testament, where prophets who bear the “Word of Yahweh” are sent to crown kings (of ministry). We are in the New Testament era, where that Word of Yahweh borne by the Old Testament prophets has now become flesh (John 1:1-14; Heb 1:1-5).

This means that the role of Old Testament prophets—as the main bearers of the Word—has been completed and fulfilled in Jesus himself. He came in the flesh, so he is that Word formerly borne by the prophets. Those roles no longer exist for lone rangers. We now have a plurality of ministry gift leaders who equip a many-membered body to function (Eph 4:1-16).

Jesus now works through this plurality of leadership gifts and body members to appoint and confirm leaders.

There is one King, even locally (Rev 2-3), and he does not share his unique role with popes or Old Testament-styled prophets over movements. He rather preserves this unique role as Leader by distributing it through plural leadership and the body. In my estimation, this assignment assumed by JJ conflicts with the entire point of the ascension of Jesus Christ, the outpouring of the Spirit, and the New Testament era.

Yes, of course we may expect the Spirit’s charismatic activity surrounding ministry callings, but that should happen in the safety and glory of New Testament churches where peoples’ lives are known and prophecies can be tested and proven, rather than online!

We should not expect such activity to come through one man for four other men and one entire people group—especially if that one man is the one informing us that he is that one man.

Leaders, please do not let the explicit errors of this dream, nor the implicit rhythms of unbiblical leadership, lull you to sleep.

Scour the Scriptures. Test everything. Lead well. Follow Jesus.

Fourth: Not Ignorant of his Schemes

In the dream, JJ “prophesies” to MB: “Satan believes he will wipe out the prayer movement by unseating you, but he does not understand that the diaspora movement is coming.” 

But if MB has been disqualified from the beginning, hiding both his sin and lack of restoration, why would satan want him unseated? Is not the reverse true? 

MB was unseated because he was exposed by the Lord.

Which means he was unseated by the Lord.

The enemy had nothing to do with this sequence. Indeed, the enemy was the one getting exposed from his hiding place. Why would the enemy want to unseat the person who helped to hide him amid God’s people?

Now we are to accept a “prophecy” that the Lord’s holy purging is the enemy’s attack?

I cannot accept that we should view the divinely mandatory unseating of MB as a satanic ploy. It is not a satanic ploy. It is divine judgment that brings correction to the body and foils at least some satanic plans.

The dream’s claim to perceive the enemy’s tactics is incompatible with biblical reality and significantly irresponsible.

So at the very time it is incumbent on us to recognize the Lord’s purging, exposing, and unseating duplicitous leadership, we are being told that the enemy is the culprit.

This inaccurate interpretation of the spiritual warfare waging behind the current crisis is dangerous. It is a reckless distraction from what God is actually doing.

Fifth: And Let the Others Pass Judgment

By now it is clear that I do not see this dream as an actual prophecy. The details contradict God’s Word, the facts of MB’s confession, and a biblically-sensible interpretation of the times.

Yet JJ asserts the dream is a prophecy. He explicitly claims to “prophesy” twice. And the rest of the dream implicitly claims to prophesy.

The first explicit “prophecy” (MB’s exposure) was already obvious to all. So it is hard to count that a prophecy.

The second explicit “prophecy” (the enemy’s plans) was inaccurate to the biblical and historical facts. So that too must be rejected.

So also the implicit prophetic claims—JJ as the divinely-enrobed ministry appointer, as well as those who get pieces of MB’s crown—must also be rejected as prophecy. Especially if the theology of leadership surrounding the entire narrative contradicts Scripture.

If any of these prophetic claims happen to fit into the calling of any of those identified, so be it. Personally, I question the biblical feasibility of always affirming “movements.” I believe any “movement” of the Spirit must be funneled into a disciple-making, church-planting, Jesus Movement that emphasizes Jesus embodied by his people in local cities and regions, rather than trans-local movements governed by popes and structured like corporations.

But be that as it may, any overlap between JJ’s dream and any man’s actual calling is purely the product of coincidence or common sense.

If we were picking future “IHOP” teams for the “diaspora,” some of the men mentioned in the dream would be obvious selections, not prophetic selections.

I recognize that some Christians may be desperately seeking assurance that the “prayer movement” will continue in various places. So the dream may attempt to give hope and comfort to some.

But not if the whole prophetic claim is inaccurate.

In that case, these prophecies bring false hope and false comfort all in a setting of false leadership appointments.

And I would argue that we should not want hope based on the continuation of various movements, anyway. Instead, we should want hope based on God’s Word, as well as genuine prophetic messages from the Holy Spirit, that assure us of God’s restoration of his Kingdom way of ministry.

We do not need to repeat the same problems that caused the current crisis.

False hope coming through prophecy is a disservice to God’s people.

Local leaders, let us remember: There is a mysterious but beautiful dance between the written Scriptures and modern prophetic words from the Spirit. The latter flow out of the former, never vice versa. In other words, we do not automatically accept prophecies and then cherry-pick passages out of the Bible to prop them up.

Our knowledge of Scripture should elegantly inform our minds’ ability to discern what the Spirit is saying. How else can we distinguish between spirits in a church meeting (where most prophecies should take place)?

Or on the streets or in market places (where prophecies definitely also take place)?

Or on Facebook (where prophecies should probably shut down for a few decades till we restore respect for God’s way of building his house)?

And this dance—this graceful, intricate dance between the accurate knowledge of the Scriptures and our minds’ abilities to discern the Spirit’s voice—always ends by exalting Jesus and edifying the saints (1 Cor 12-14).

It does not promote the one prophesying.

If our doctrine is faulty—and the underlying doctrine of leadership in this dream is faulty—so will be our prophecies.

God’s Word distinguishes between soul and spirit.

If we are not willing to prophesy out of trustworthy biblical doctrine, then God’s intended goals of the exalted Jesus Christ and the saints’ edification will never be met.

Other goals will be met. But not God’s goals.

One more point about JJ’s claim to prophesy, particularly at the beginning of the dream: “Mike, you are being exposed. You must kneel and not rise and the Lord will forgive you.”

It should be obvious that someone claiming to “prophesy” would not tell a person who is being exposed for adultery, abuse of power, deceit, and illegitimate leadership to “kneel” and thereby be forgiven.

The one claiming to “prophesy” should rather call such a person to repent, fully confessing his sins, begging God for mercy, and making everything right with the many people who were hurt—including individuals and churches and prayer groups around the world.

Yes, “kneeling and not rising” may be seen as a convenient symbol of humbling oneself. But it is grossly insufficient by itself. Further, kneeling in the presence of the dream’s implied hero, without any reference to repentance before God and others, really seems amiss.

It is unacceptable to think that a prophetic word from the Holy Spirit would merely instruct MB to get low, declare that his crown of authority is being taken away and given to others, and then imply assurance that everything will be fine into the future.

That is not a prophecy.

One may counter on the dream’s behalf: “But JJ got this dream before MB confessed his sins. He did not know all that was being exposed.”

And that is precisely my point.

If the dream were a prophecy, it would not need data from MB’s confession.

It would prophesy.

Sixth: Another Man’s Treasure

One final point. JJ claims to “sense” the security of MB’s “salvation and heavenly treasure.” 

Under the present circumstances, this kind of statement is both out of place and pretentious. No one has the right to make such a claim. Are we really to believe that, in light of this catastrophic crisis, God gave JJ a “sense” of another man’s eternal destiny… and then released him to publish that “sense” on Facebook?

No one can judge another man’s servant. It is not anyone’s place to make such a statement, whether for or against that servant. The state of MB’s soul is between him and God and is well outside our purview. Making the claim to “sense” this lacks tact and prophetic aptitude.

It is unbelievably irresponsible.

I urge you to instruct those in your charge to prophesy responsibly, in the Spirit, and within the parameters of Scripture. I know this is a challenging task, but it is what we signed up to accomplish: Disciples must grow sufficiently in the Word and the Spirit to prophesy, not out of personal biases or opinions or preferences or ambitions, but out of mindsets geared as objectively as possible in the fear of the Lord. This takes time to develop.

And even then, we are commanded to test these spirits and judge these prophecies. It is a process. Let two or three prophesy, and let the others—those with the gift of “discernments of spirits”—pass judgment.

(A note on the Greek text: “discernments of spirits” is a charismatic gift that follows directly after “prophecy” in 1 Cor 12:10. These two are companion gifts like tongues and interpretation. The Greek word for “discernment(s)” is diakrisis, and the word translated “judge” later in 1 Cor 14:29, is diakrinō. They share the same Greek root, being essentially the same word, with the former being the noun and the latter the verb. Discernments of spirits is the charismatic gift of judging prophecy. Unfortunately, the nature and practice of such an exercise—meant for the local assembly—is for another time. I am only stating here that the New Testament does not advocate for prophecy by itself; rather, it advocates for prophecy with its companion gift operating to “judge” or “distinguish” those prophecies.)

Prophesying someone’s eternal inheritance is generally out of line. But that is especially true in a public post going out into the vast canyon of social media.

We need discernment.

In Sum

Little more needs to be said. This dream fails to square with Scripture, MB’s confession, and the realities they imply.

But more importantly, this dream assumes and promotes a vision of leadership throughout its entirety that is contrary to Scripture.

I believe we should reject it. It is invalid. There is no “good” to which we should “hold fast” in this prophecy (1 Thess 5:19-22). In fact, if we did, we would help spread a spiritually cancerous view of leadership which the Lord is seeking to purge.

A few parting exhortations to leaders:

  • Let us reject papal tiaras and embrace Jesus’ towel and basin.
  • Let us lead in teams, well-connected in relationships both within and outside our ministry works, valuing people with proven track records.
  • Let us not assume Scripture sanctifies our segmented “movements.” More than spiritual trends that divide the Kingdom into “streams,” let us rather make disciples and pray for one big “Jesus Movement.”
  • Let us be beautiful in our season, praying that God would come into the open wound of the recent crisis and its popular, unhealthy leadership systems with deep, deep healing.

Appendix

A possible challenge to this evaluation may be raised, particularly related to the crown on MB: What about Judas? Was he not disqualified from ministry from the beginning? Yet, did not Jesus choose him for a role of leadership he would later lose and give to others (Acts 1:15-26)? Could that not make the “crown” image work?

I believe these are valid questions that make excellent points. Ultimately, however, the analogy does not fit the dream’s message or sequence of events.

Some may find the Judas analogy helpful to process the crisis in real life (though I do not). But it does not help us process JJ’s dream. And that is what this article addresses.

The dream does not present MB as a Judas-type figure. Rather, quite the opposite of Judas, the dream portrays MB…

  • As a man opposed by the devil who sought to “unseat” him. This is contrary to Judas, a man Jesus called a “devil” in whom satan actually “entered” (Luke 22:3; John 6:70).
  • As a man with a secure heavenly treasure and salvation. This is contrary to Judas, whom Jesus called “the son of destruction” (John 17:12).
  • As a man who merely lost his ministry authority but remains wealthy in the afterlife. This is contrary to Judas whose fate was far worse in both ages (Matt 27:5; Acts 1:18; John 17:12).

(Please note: None of these comments reflect my own personal judgments. I make no claims about knowing a man’s eternal fate, nor do I compare anyone to Judas. I am rather dealing exclusively with the content of the dream and one possible rebuttal.)

The Judas analogy does not help the dream work. The dream clearly sees MB as a once-qualified leadership figure whom the enemy opposed. It does not present him as a Judas.

In fact, I do not believe our root problem was that we had a Judas among us. I believe our problems lie elsewhere. Remember, Judas was called into a pure Kingdom ministry defined and overseen by Jesus himself. But the dream envisages MB as called into a ministry symbolized by a kind of Roman papacy. These are two, mutually exclusive contexts.

We cannot use the Judas analogy to justify JJ’s dream.