The God of heaven burns with an unquenchable fiery passion to see His children step into their prophetic destiny through His divine work to govern, guard and guide their lives. Jesus Christ, Alpha and Omega, who knows all things from beginning to end, has taken me on a powerful transformational prophetic journey toward the convergence of revival fire and governmental authority since 2016.
Since this journey began, I've witnessed Holy Spirit's divine supernatural leadership, which has placed me on a spiritual launchpad. In revealing my prophetic destiny, He has also placed me in the middle of the fight for religious freedom and on the front lines in the spiritual battle for God's purposes in the earth.
I'll never forget the start of this journey. It was February 2016, and my wife and I had just arrived in Daphne, Alabama, to attend a conference at the Church of His Presence. The moment we checked into the hotel, a miraculous encounter took place as the heavens opened. I stepped into the elevator to head to our room when a sudden supernatural aroma from heaven overwhelmed me. The only way I can describe it is that my heart knew the fragrance of the Lord Jesus Christ had come upon me. I knew God intended this special gift for me because my wife, always spiritually sensitive, did not experience it.
"Maybe it's just the air freshener in the elevator," the enemy whispered. But when I stepped onto our floor, the scent remained. Heaven's aroma would not leave. I went to the room, and it grew stronger. We prepared for the service that night, and the aroma increased even more. We left for service and arrived in the church parking lot, and it only grew stronger and stronger.
We had a powerful time at the conference, but what most challenged and delighted me was that for three days, the fragrance of Jesus enveloped me. I knew then that God was doing something supernatural, something different than any of our previous encounters. From that moment, He placed my life and ministry on a Spirit-accelerated track.
As we began our journey home after the conference to our home in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, the presence of God overwhelmed me. Suddenly, I had a supernatural clarity that gave me insight into where He would take me in the next season of my life. His specific strategies downloaded from heaven to earth and into my heart. I heard these words, which struck my spirit like an arrow: "Son, you must go to Azusa Street and Washington, D.C, before the end of 2016."
Why would I go to those places? I wondered. And what would I do when I got there? But as soon as I said yes to God—even without understanding what He meant—He said, "Son, I am sending a revival to New Mexico marked by a united people who are awakened by the past, empowered by the present and mobilized by the future."
This word would set me on a course to encounter God in a way that would forever change my life.
I traveled to Azusa Street in Los Angeles, California; New York City; and Washington, D.C. Every stop and every location became pivotal and prophetic in nature, with the Lord drawing me from city to city. I carried my "Appeal to Heaven" flag and stirred up a spirit of faith to believe God for a shift in our nation. In each city, I felt a heavenly release, but I received something else as well. I believe God used this powerful time to prepare me for the next season and the unforeseen crucible of the COVID-19 pandemic.
During my time in our nation's capital, Holy Spirit showed me that if we desire sustainable revival and transformational awakening, there must be a convergence of revival fire and governmental authority. At that moment, my mind immediately went back to when Jesus entered the region of Caesarea Philippi and delegated keys to the kingdom of God—keys that would bind and loose.
The Gospel of Matthew records the Savior's words: "On this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" (Matt. 16:18b-19).
The Word of God makes it clear that as Peter spoke forth the revelation of Jesus' true identity, our Lord promised to build His church. The Greek word for church is ekklesia, which reveals God's ruling governmental authority in the earth.
God desires to manifest His ruling governmental authority in the earth through the body of Christ. Now is the time to legislate in the heavens as never before, and we must believe God to defy the natural laws of this earth with the supernatural laws of heaven.
We have entered an hour in America where we see many sins recognized as legal in the earth (and thus acceptable by society), but heaven does not view them this way. In heaven's view, sin remains sin, and regardless of what society says, Christians need to flee it and fight against entities that seek to support it. In this moment, God desires to release governmental authority from heaven that burns with revival fire.
I did not know that my 2016 encounters of saying yes to the process of the convergence of revival fire and governmental authority would be tested in 2020. The widespread impact of the COVID-19 pandemic moved state governments to declare businesses "essential" or "nonessential" and order nonessential businesses shut down to stop the spread of the virus.
I would soon have firsthand experience with this. Growing concerns arose across the nation about whether government officials and law enforcement would uphold the oath they took to defend the U.S. Constitution, which clearly states:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
As pandemic-induced panic heightened and I saw governmental authority set its sights on violating the constitutional rights of the church, I knew we must lean into the government of God and revival fire. Holy Spirit spoke these words to me: "Son, this is not only 'America's storm,' but will also be America's 'great divide.' Keep My lighthouse open."
On Easter Eve at 12 noon, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that places of worship were no longer exempt from the state's order and must close. She sent an emergency alert across every phone with this message: "COVID-19 update: gatherings not safe, even at church. Stay home."
I remember looking at my phone, knowing the spiritual warfare against the church had just escalated. In my spirit, I knew God would not permit me to shutter our church, which we had never closed since the pandemic began.
Later that day, Grisham revised her health order to state that "mass gatherings" meant any public or private gathering that brought together five or more individuals in a single room or connected space was prohibited. The order went on to say, "churches, synagogues, mosques and all other houses of worship shall adhere to these restrictions."
Our church chose to obey God over man and exercise our God-given, inalienable constitutional right to assemble freely. We were met with great resistance—but also victory. I wielded the double-edged blade of God's Word on the spiritual battlefield, balancing Romans 13:1 (NIV), "submit ... to the governing authorities," and Acts 5:29 (ESV), "Obey God rather than men."
Not long after our decision to remain open, I received a call from the New Mexico State Police on our church phone. The message went as follows:
"This is in reference to New Hope Revival Church; we have a couple of complaints stating that the church is still open and running during church hours. Just to let you guys know that you guys are 'non-essential,' and this business should be closed down until further notice and until this epidemic is over and completed, until the government gives orders to reopen."
After that first call, I went directly to the office of Sheriff Glenn Hamilton of Sierra County, New Mexico, our home county. The sheriff made it clear that he would stand with our church and with me to defend our constitutional rights—even if it meant going to jail himself.
The following Sunday, Hamilton addressed our congregation, informing them of their constitutional right to assemble and making the following profound statement: "I'm here to ensure that I will be that guy who is the barrier between the oppressive government and those officials who are trying to enforce it."
I watched God at work in the convergence of governmental authority and revival fire. The sheriff addressed our church as the service was livestreamed, sending shock waves across our state. A peaceable meeting was set up with Hamilton, community faith leaders, the New Mexico state police and me. The law enforcement officers shared their concerns about the medical aspects of COVID-19.
One of my comments helped those present understand our moral obligation and spiritual responsibility to keep God's house open. I stood before them and said, "the only thing worse than dying of COVID-19 would be to die of COVID-19 without Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of your life and burn in hell for eternity." These heartfelt words silenced the room.
On May 3, 2020, Hamilton used the authority of his office to perform one of the most courageous acts in the history of New Mexico—and potentially America—as he deputized our entire congregation. After doing so, he congratulated us as special deputies and informed us that one of the benefits of this act was that law enforcement officials remained exempt from the governor's restrictive order.
However, not everyone saw this as positive. The New Mexico State Police served me a cease-and-desist order on May 10, 2020, because I continued to hold church services. The video of the officer delivering this order went viral, and by the following Sunday, people from all over our state converged on Truth or Consequences to stand with us. These supporters held a huge parade, showing they stood behind our church, the sheriff and me. Politicians and those running for powerful positions of government converged upon our small city.
The divine convergence the Lord had spoken to me about years before was now happening before my eyes. Because of that powerful moment of standing for His truth, I now serve as a co-chair of Rep. Yvette Herrell's Faith Leaders Coalition. On May 24, 2020—my birthday—former President Donald J. Trump declared the church essential. Hamilton's unprecedented deputization of our church members later became the catalyst that moved the New Mexico Sheriff's Association to nominate him as Sheriff of the Year.
This powerful journey has paved the way for our church to reach people in government as well as law enforcement with the gospel of Jesus Christ. In fact, my most recent book, The Call for Strong Godly Leadership, has the subtitle A Compilation of Leaders From the Church, Marketplace and Law Enforcement. Seven active, former or retired law enforcement officials each wrote a chapter. Frank Shelton Jr., an evangelist who has worked for 20 years on Capitol Hill and in the lineage of six generations of Washington, D.C., police, wrote the book's foreword.
These are unusual times, and God is moving in unusual ways. My story is real and true, and I lived every second of it. But it is also a picture of what God is doing in our day. A convergence of revival fire and governmental authority is coming to America, and I count myself privileged to play a part in His divine purposes.
READ MORE: To hear more from Caleb Cooper, visit cooper.charismamag.com.
Caleb Cooper is pastor of New Hope Revival Church in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico; founder of Caleb Cooper Ministries and the author of several books available at calebcooperbooks.com and calebcooperministries.com.
This article was excerpted from the August issue of Charisma magazine. If you don't subscribe to Charisma, click here to get every issue delivered to your mailbox. During this time of change, your subscription is a vote of confidence for the kind of Spirit-filled content we offer. In the same way you would support a ministry with a donation, subscribing is your way to support Charisma. Also, we encourage you to give gift subscriptions at shop.charismamag.com, and share our articles on social media.
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