I see more of a hunger in the prophetic movement to obtain power than to walk in intimacy. I see more of a desire to live under the anointing than to demonstrate Christlike character. I see more of an appetite to publicly prophesy over thousands than to privately pray to the Father in heaven. I see more of an obsession to chase after someone else's prophetic mantle than to giving our time to discovering our own unique divine design given by the Father alone. I see more of an urge to chase gold dust, feathers and angels than to encounter the person of Jesus Christ.
All of these pursuits lead to one terrifying end: The rise of a generation of "Simon the Sorcerers" who are currently operating in illegitimate authority!
These individuals carry an appearance of walking in deep relationship with Jesus, but in reality, they are collateral damage to the body of Christ. These men and women are dangerous; their motives are impure; and what they primarily pursue and emphasize causes them to live in continual dysfunction. One of the main reasons the prophetic movement is headed for shipwreck is because we are continuing to honor and give individuals positions of authority that have quit on intimacy. These prophetic individuals consistently tear down with their character what they have built with their gifting.
The Story of Simon
The account of Simon the Sorcerer is told in Acts 8:9-10, when it says, "Now a man named Simon was previously in the city practicing sorcery and astonishing the nation of Samaria, saying he was someone great, to whom they all listened, from the least to the greatest, saying, 'This man is the great power of God.' They listened to him, because for a long time he had astonished them by his sorceries."
Phillip began preaching the Good News of the kingdom in Samaria, and many men and women were baptized. Even Simon the Sorcerer himself believed, was baptized and immediately started following Phillip because he was amazed at the miracles taking place. When Peter and John heard that Samaria was receiving the word of God, they came down and began to pray that people might receive the Holy Spirit. Laying hands on the new believers, many of them began to be filled and touched by God.
Acts 8:18-24 says:
When Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, "Give me also this power, that whomever I lay hands on may receive the Holy Spirit." Peter said to him, "May your money perish with you, because you thought you could purchase the gift of God with money! You have neither part nor share in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. Therefore repent of your wickedness, and ask God if perhaps the intention of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity." Then Simon answered, "Pray to the Lord for me that nothing you have spoken may come upon me."
One of the keys to understanding the deception Simon the Sorcerer lived in is to identify what he hungered for. He said to Peter and John, "Give me also this power" (v. 19a). Simon's desire for a position of influence and attention was the driving force behind his request to have the apostles lay hands on him. He was quickly becoming addicted to ministry and it was becoming an idol in his life.
When this deadly deception overtakes an individual, destruction is right around the corner. Simon was not interested in deep union with Jesus. He was only interested in the miracle-working power of Jesus. All activity in the kingdom of God that is not born out of intimacy is unauthorized by heaven!
Peter and John had not only walked with Jesus, but as the crowds noted in Acts 4:13 as the lame crippled beggar had been healed, "they had been with Jesus." Peter and John had waited in the Upper Room to be filled with power from on high, but Simon the Sorcerer was looking for a quick impartation to launch him into ministry.
Peter responds to Simon's request and says, "May your money perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!" (v. 20). In other words, Simon wanted authority and power so badly that he was willing to use soulish means to obtain them. Peter continues and says, "You have neither part nor share in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. Therefore repent of your wickedness, and ask God if perhaps the intention of your heart may be forgiven you" (vv. 21-22).
I see thousands of Christian young adults in America who, like Simon the Sorcerer, are hungry for the supernatural and are therefore looking for an impartation, prayer or touch from a well-known leader in the body of Christ to launch them into their ministry. Rather than seeking intimacy with Jesus Christ and walking in true legitimate kingdom authority like Peter and John, many, just like Simon, are seeking a drive-through experience because they are hungry for authority, but aren't willing to obtain it legally through intimacy.
Empowering Illegitimate Authority
Church leaders have placed so much emphasis on activation and impartation in our prophetic and supernatural schools in America, and so little time connecting people to the character and nature of God and what Jesus is really like, that we ourselves have blessed and commissioned a generation of Simon the Sorcerers who are operating in illegitimate authority in the body of Christ.
Because intimacy and deep union with Jesus Christ are no longer a focus in the prophetic movement, our horrendous levels of discernment have built stages for these Simon the Sorcerers and given them platforms. We have been incredibly gullible as leaders and therefore produced extremely gullible prophetic people.
The good news is that an emerging prophetic company is rising in the earth who will walk in legitimate authority because of their deep union with Jesus Christ and central pursuit of His character and nature. They have been trained and raised up by prophetic fathers and mothers who saw and understood early on that God was more interested in changing them than using them. This new prophetic generation is not obsessed by or enamored of another's mantle or gifting, but simply enthralled by the invitation to come sit at the feet of Jesus.
The Coming Distinction
Instead of carrying a living and active spirit of revelation, Simon the Sorcerer types have to borrow revelation because they have no prayer life. Simon told Peter and John in verse 24, "Pray to the Lord for me that nothing you have spoken may come upon me." The greatest distinction between this breed of Simon the Sorcerers and the emerging prophetic company rising in the earth will be deep intimacy with Jesus that can only be birthed through deep intercession and travail. Simon the Sorcerers are looking to get launched into ministry by another's touch, but the new prophetic company emerging is looking to grow in humility under heaven's touch. This can only be accomplished through prayer, fasting and time in the secret place.
Jeremiah Johnson planted and serves on the eldership team at Heart of the Father Ministry in Lakeland, Florida. A gifted teacher, prophet and author of multiple books, Jeremiah travels and speaks extensively throughout the United States and abroad as a conference and guest speaker. Jeremiah is also the founder and director of Maranatha School of Ministry. MSM is a full-time fivefold ministry training center that equips and sends out end-time messengers. For more information, please visit maranatha.school or jeremiahjohnson.tv.
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