Standing on a Sea of Glass
And I saw something like a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who had been victorious over the beast and his image and the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, holding harps of God. Rev. 15:2
The rapidity of dramatic world events this year is straining the limits of the prophetic as we have known it. Historically, we have been raised on an “event-centered” prophetic ministry. A significant event occurs, punctuating longer seasons of relative quiet. As each event arises, prophetic awareness heightens and commentary ensues. The prophets all cash in their “two-cents’ worth” on what God has just said through the latest event.
Then, after a period of discussion, things go back to relative quiet. Time is once again afforded to rest and ponder the meaning of the “great event” while anticipating the next future one. It is something like the early stages of labor in birth when contractions begin, occurring hours apart, allowing for rest in between.
But as labor progresses, the number of “contractions” marked by earth shaking events increases in rapidity. Each singular contraction loses its significance as their number multiplies, heading toward birth. Consequently, a “contraction-centered” prophetic cannot keep pace with assigning meanings to the rapid events we are now seeing.
Hardly do we encounter one major crisis before we have moved to another. Last month’s or last week’s crisis is left in the dust as this week’s crisis comes to center stage. What will it be next? Another earthquake and tsunami, or a rebellion, or a national economic collapse somewhere? What about a nuclear explosion? Tens of thousands die one week. How many the next week?
In this context, it becomes frustrating to assign prophetic meanings to every individual event. It seems an exercise in futility to raise one’s prophetic voice over each wave of an ongoing tidal surge. Added to this is that the effects of the multiplied events trickle down to affect the personal lives and ministry courses of the prophets themselves, increasing the frustration of walking out one’s own earthly destiny in Christ. Gas prices, food shortages and radioactive fallout affect everyone. Elijah was negatively impacted by the drought he himself prophesied into being.
A Tale of Two Seas
The wicked and the ways of the world are likened to the storm tossed sea—“But the wicked are like the tossing sea, For it cannot be quiet, And its waters toss up refuse and mud” (Isa. 57:20). At the same time, we are told not to become “tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine” (Eph. 4:14). What applies to doctrine applies to prophecy. We are not to be blown about by prophecy in relation to the cataclysms of the world.
We are being called to a higher, different realm of the prophetic than we have known—one that does not find meaning by “competing” with the media voices attending a tempest-tossed world. This higher realm transcends the “contractions” of individual events, being more geared to the overall “birth” toward which we as overcomers and the earth itself are being brought forth. It is a realm able to stay focused on its own heavenly goals and word of destiny, unmoved by each new crashing wave of worldly catastrophe.
For me, this higher prophetic realm is represented by the sea of glass in Revelation 15:2. This is a sea that is both solid yet transparent. It cannot be seen underneath our feet, yet somehow we can amazingly stand on it. We do not sink into it. It is the alternate sea God has prepared for his overcoming people to stand on amidst the crises of the storm tossed sea out of which the beast arises two chapters earlier—“…Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were en diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names” (13:1). While the sea from which the beast arises is of the character of Isaiah 57, the sea on which the overcomers stand has all the immovable, unshakable character of the very throne of God.
The celestial sea has a manifest future as John saw it, after the beast has been manifestly overcome and overthrown. But I also believe it is a present reality. All those who learn to stand on the transparent solidity of faith now are indeed standing on the sea of glass before the throne of God. It is this solidity on which the new prophetic must come forth.
On Two Seas at Once
Matthew 14 tells us the wonderfully familiar story of Jesus walking out to the disciples’ ship on the water:
25 And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea.
But on what “sea” was the Lord really walking? Was He walking on the water of the physical ocean? It certainly appeared so. But I do not think that is the sea that was supporting Him. My spirit has continually seen an invisible but solid platform on which the Lord walked as He approached that ship, just beneath the surface of the earthly water. What He stood upon was solid, not liquid.
Our Lord was the consummate Overcomer, living by perfect faith in all circumstances. I believe the Lord was walking upon the overcomers’ sea of glass before the throne of His Father. He was bringing the sea of glass into manifestation over the otherwise tempest tossed water of the world. No, He was not walking on the unstable water of the earth. He was walking “over” it, but not “on” it.
In this picture, the Lord Jesus is showing us the type of prophetic upon which it is necessary to walk in storm tossed times. It is necessary to walk on the prophetic sea of glass, unmoved by the individual events of the stormy world system in its increasing death throes. By contrast, Peter portrays our modern prophetic generation at the crossroads of faith.
28 Peter said to Him, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water." 29 And He said, "Come!" And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!"
Peter pictures the event-conscious prophetic that is used to prophesying on an event basis. Peter wants something more solid amidst the times. He is already afraid of the times and knows his prophetic cannot keep up with the roar. He calls to the Lord for that something higher, and the Lord bids him, “Come.” And so he comes.
Yet his older event-trained prophetic eye is still too attuned to prophesying over events. He can’t help seeing the stormy events, and his lesser prophetic gets the better of him. He wants to assign meaning to all these threatening waves, except that, unable to keep up with them any further, they begin to submerge him. His ministry goes into a tailspin. But at the last he cries out to the Lord who rescues him, bringing him back up to that higher plane on the transparently invisible prophetic “sea of glass.”
Wesley and the Moravians
The story is told of John Wesley’s 1735 storm ravaged ocean voyage from England to Georgia colony in North America. Also on this voyage was a group of Moravian believers. Both Wesley and the Moravians were on their way to minister to others. Wesley was the more prominent man on board, being an Anglican minister and the chaplain of the ship for that voyage. But when the life-threatening storm came, Wesley was in a fearful panic while the Moravians remained calm and cool throughout.
The Moravians were standing on the sea of glass. Wesley was not. It was in fact out of this encounter with the stable Moravians that Wesley came to truly know the Lord. (I wonder how many of today’s event-centered prophets actually know the Lord?)
The Moravians exemplify again the higher realm of prophetic perception and ministry into which we are being called at this time. The storms of current events are exposing the inadequacy of event-centered prophecy. The Lord wants us to begin pegging our prophetic perception to a higher reality in the sea of glass.
As the events continue to ratchet up, the entire prophetic is going to be increasingly sifted in this regard. Ministries accustomed to flailing over each and every human catastrophe are going to “go down with the ship.” But those who find their new platform in the sea of glass under the shadow of the Most High will navigate the ensuing storms unharmed, if not unaffected.
Staying the Course
As the times increase in their instability and the 24/7 news channels endlessly replay video clips of the latest tragedy, it’s imperative we find our place on the sea of glass before the throne of God. This means knowing within God’s specific word for us, for our family, for those in our immediate circle of influence.
National and world tragedies do not alter God’s prophetic designs for our local lives even if they do affect them. We must not say, “Oh, now that this has happened, how can what God said I would do ever come to pass?” We must accept like Elijah that droughts will impact our circumstances. But the events cannot cancel out our destinies. If anything, they are designed by a wise Father to facilitate them—even though they lead to a fulfillment in contexts we at first were not capable of imagining.
Whatever God has spoken to you or through you, continue to believe in it! Don’t let the overwhelming trumpets of national and international tragedy shake your faith in God’s prophetic promises and expressed purposes for you. If God gives you a word about such an event, then pass it on as He gives it. But do not look at those national and international waves and feel constrained as a prophet to have to have a “word” regarding every one of them for the rest of the body.
Let nothing remove you from the core local mission God has prophetically planted within you. Know your sphere, and walk it out faithfully. Therein you will find your proper prophetic bread to give out to others, and our Kingdom will function far more effectively across the earth.
Let’s all begin moving up to stand on the sea of glass where
…His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark. You will not be afraid of the terror by night, Or of the arrow that flies by day; Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon. A thousand may fall at your side And ten thousand at your right hand, But it shall not approach you. Ps. 91:4-7
First Love Ministry
- a ministry of Anglemar Fellowship
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Page created February 14, 2017