I've previously penned some articles on biblical models of prophecy (You can read them here, here, here and here). In the following, I thought that I might discuss another expression of supernatural illumination.
I would describe it as "perception."
What I am talking about is a dimension of sense-discernment which shrewdly sizes things up. It is when God enables one to effectively perceive, understand, and judge. A friend once suggested that it was "supernatural knowing."
In the Old Testament, this area of operation is not nearly as prominent as it is in the New Testament, but there are occasions where God brought insight outside of the natural order of things.
In one instance, the High Priest Eli began to perceive that God was up to something special with Samuel: "Then Eli understood that the Lord was calling to the boy" (1 Sam. 3:8c). However, this wasn't the only occasion.
Later, we see that Nehemiah was on a perilous mission to rebuild the fallen temple and reestablish Jerusalem. He needed insight and understanding.
During one particular moment, he had to discern what his opposition was up to. Scripture declares, "Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, " Come that we might meet together ... But they planned to do evil to me" (Neh. 6:2).
Shortly thereafter, a prophet was giving a false word and the Lord brought this manipulative tactic to Nehemiah's attention.
"Then I perceived and saw that God had not sent him, but that he pronounced the prophecy against me, because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. He was hired for this reason: that I might become fearful, act accordingly, and sin. Then they would have an evil report by which they could reproach me (Neh. 6:12-13).
Obviously, the Holy Spirit brings even greater clarity as we advance into the New Testament era. This is most vividly seen in the messianic role of Jesus. Functioning as a man, the heavenly Father showed Him what was transpiring through the realm of the senses.
Consider the following account:
But some of the scribes were sitting there, reasoning in their hearts, "Why does this man speak such blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?" Immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, He said to them, "Why do you contemplate these things in your hearts?" (Mark 2:6-8).
Through perception in the inner man, Jesus was cognizant of what the scribes were thinking.
This is an operation that is witnessed in other passages as well (Matt. 12:15; 22:18; Luke 5:22). Jesus was aware of the religious leaders' unrighteous intent and was positioned to respond to it ahead of time.
Elsewhere Jesus perceived that something was going on in the realm of healing. The apostle Mark shares the following:
"And a certain woman had a hemorrhage for twelve years ... said, "If I touch His garments, I shall be healed." And immediately her hemorrhage dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction. At once, Jesus knew within Himself that power had gone out of Him. He turned around in the crowd and said, "Who touched My garments?" (Mark 5:25, 28-30).
As Jesus continued in His glorious mission, He passed on many things to His followers. Thus, His devoted disciples also operated in the realm of perception.
"Paul advised them, saying, 'Men, I perceive that this voyage will be with injury and much loss, not only of the cargo and ship, but also of our lives'" (Acts 27:9-10).
Perception is a unique realm of engagement that Spirit-filled believers must continue to explore. It can be a compelling dimension of prophetic activation.
J.D. King, director of the World Revival Network and co-pastor at World Revival Church, is writing Regeneration: Healing in the History of Christianity. King is a sought-after speaker, writer and author.
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