The ultimate purpose of discerning revelation is presenting Jesus to the world. In other words, we let God's Word become flesh in us so that others can experience Him.
One of joys in my life is the people I have the honor of working with. One of them is Jeffrey Thompson, the project manager for my ministry, God Encounters Ministries. Here, he tells about a revelatory experience he had with the Lord that expresses revelation's ultimate purpose:
One day not long ago, I was given the opportunity to preach at the church where I serve part-time on the pastoral staff. After I brought the message at the worship service, I felt really good about it. It seemed to have been inspired both in content and delivery. So, I asked the Lord, "Lord, have You called me to preach?"
The Lord responded to me immediately in my spirit, saying, "No, I've called you to incarnate."
He was realigning my priorities, reminding me that the endgame isn't just the preaching or teaching or whatever—the endgame is the relationship with Jesus Christ, and the more completely I walk with Him, the more I incarnate Him. By "incarnate," I mean He takes on flesh in me. I am called to bring His love and wisdom and peace and hope into the room with me so that people can see Him.
That says it well. Discerning—hearing, confirming and acting on prophetic revelation—is really about incarnation.
Not only is it about the historical incarnation of God the Son as a Jewish man named Jesus over 2,000 years ago, but also about Jesus' incarnation in each of His followers, in you and in me.
Each one of us has been called to incarnate Him.
Presenting Jesus to the World: Incarnational Christianity
All of this is to say one thing: The whole purpose of prophetic revelation and, therefore, the purpose of the discerner of revelation is incarnational—presenting Jesus to the world. This is the reason for our interactive hearing and communing with God in all of its dimensions.
Together with all of those who walk with Jesus, we carry His message to the world.
As the apostle John was recording the magnificent revelation he received when he was on the Isle of Patmos, he wrote:
"I fell at [the angel's] feet to worship him. But he said to me, "Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brothers and sisters who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy" (Rev. 19:10).
For us as discerners, the key phrase here is "your brothers and sisters who hold the testimony of Jesus."
If our receiving revelation does not lead others into a greater awareness of who Christ Jesus is, and if it does not lead us into a more passionate pursuit of Him, then something is askew.
Many people have historical information and doctrinal knowledge about Jesus, but we must have a personal revelation of Him.
We cannot find this without the help of His Holy Spirit, because it takes God to know God. One of the Holy Spirit's roles is to make Jesus real to us, to make us able to know Him and follow Him.
As we know Him, we make Him known—through our words and our lifestyle. We incarnate Him, carrying His testimony far and wide.
So when we talk about receiving and releasing prophetic revelation, we are not primarily referring to predicting the future, but rather to displaying the message and person of Jesus to the world around us.
This is something that you and I can do. With the Holy Spirit helping us, we can "show and tell" the world that Jesus is Lord and Messiah. (See Matt. 16:13-17, 1 Cor. 12:3.)
True prophetic revelation is powerful; it penetrates hardened hearts and unbelief.
Think about how it worked in the New Testament. When Jesus told Nathanael that He had seen him under the fig tree, Nathanael and others believed that Jesus was the Messiah. (See John 1:43-51.)
After Jesus revealed to the Samaritan woman at the well "everything she ever did," and she told the people of her town about it, many of the townspeople came to believe in Him as the Son of God. (See John 4:7-26.)
This is the revelation lifestyle we are meant to be walking in today. Living a life of revelation can change people's lives. And as you and I walk with Jesus, we step into the same powerful, revelatory stream that He walked in.
Revelatory Encounters with Jesus Today
A few years ago, I went to Indonesia to minister at a conference with Bill Johnson, Ché Ahn and Heidi Baker. Indonesia, made up of thousands of islands in Southeast Asia, is the largest Muslim-populated nation in the world.
For safety, I was given a personal bodyguard who went everywhere with me. He was a dedicated Muslim who had never been in a church meeting in his life. He also had never been taught the truth about Jesus as Savior and Lord, though his religion had taught him to believe that Jesus was one of the prophets.
As I was at the podium speaking in one of the sessions, my bodyguard stood nearby. Everything I taught at the conference was being translated into the Indonesian language, so he was able to understand it.
And during my message, unbeknownst to me, he had a revelatory encounter with God. I found out about it the next day right before I got up to speak again. People were taking turns sharing testimonies, and I was sitting in the first row with some friends who were translating for me. Much to my surprise, my Muslim bodyguard went up front to testify.
He started off by stating, "Listen to Prophet James Goll." I do not know if anybody told him to call me that, but it did make me think of the Scripture passage that says if you receive a prophet in the name of a prophet, you'll receive a prophet's reward.
Then he went on to say, "I am a Muslim, and while I was serving Prophet James Goll, I had a vision. Light and glory came, and many angels appeared to me." People applauded. He was finished, so I got up to speak.
While I was giving my message, this man had a second vision, a panoramic one, while his eyes were open, and he was just standing there as my bodyguard. This time, Jesus—along with His disciples— appeared to him, and Jesus spoke to him, saying, "Would you be one of My disciples?" On the spot, pierced by the revelation, this man gave his heart to the Lord Jesus Christ.
When I heard about this later, I was amazed. I have never known of anyone having a vision of Jesus with all His disciples.
This powerful encounter had long-lasting results. The man was a husband and father, and eventually his whole family gave their lives to Jesus. On a later trip to Indonesia, I was told that they had all become part of a local church and been water-baptized. This was God moving in signs and wonders, praise the Lord!
When you and I—and others—carry the Spirit of God into a dark place, the glory of His light sweeps away all obstacles and overcomes the darkness. Amazing things can happen, whether or not you expect them to. Revelatory gifts are like anti-tank missiles. They shatter the enemy's schemes, expose darkness, and release freedom to captives.
These truths are not for an elite group of upper-class Christians. No! What I have shared with you from the depths of my heart is meant for every believer.
The only requirement is hunger. Are you hungry for more of the Lord? You can count on the truth of this saying: "The depth of your hunger is the length of your reach to God."
I don't know about you, but I want to do more than hear a word from God. I want to become that word.
That is revelation's ultimate purpose—for the Word to become flesh and to present Jesus to the world.
This article is adapted from Chapter 12: "Revelation's Ultimate Purpose: The Word Becomes Flesh" in The Discerner by James W. Goll.