A few weeks ago as I was praying with my dear friend Lenny Weston (a powerful apostolic prophet residing in Ohio), he was caught up into heaven and heard the voice of the Lord saying something like this:
“How the mighty have fallen; I am going to remove many candlesticks from their places, so that the church will trust in me and not in men. I am going to remove many prominent leaders and rise up many unknown leaders to prominence that will speak for me. As a result of this, many in the church will be shaken and some will fall away.”
His reflection on his prophetic word was “while most in the church are focusing their prayers for the nation because of same-sex marriage and abortion, more believers are needed to pray for the church at this time.”
There was more to this word, but those were the main points based on my recollection. Since Lenny has a very solid walk with God and is very accurate and walks in integrity before God, I am taking this word seriously! This word may start to be fulfilled very shortly or it could start in several years. Of course, every year we hear about several prominent Christian leaders falling into sin or being removed from their ministry. The gist of this word seems to indicate what is coming will be a tsunami compared to what has transpired in the past.
This article was triggered by the word Lenny shared with me. I do not presume to understand the timing of this word and/or the methods God may use to fulfill it. However, using biblical principles and having an understanding of the past, I have responded to this word with seven possible reasons the mighty will fall.
The following seven reasons the mighty have fallen and will fall in the future:
1. The authority of scripture is undermined
The Roman Catholic system was judged by God because they placed church tradition and their canon law on a higher level than Scripture. As a result, their ecclesial structure became corrupted as they adopted unbiblical doctrines such as: Mary worship, justification by works, idol worship in the church, praying for the dead, praying to the saints, indulgences, purgatory, the office of the pope as the vice regent of God’s kingdom on earth, and transubstantiation (they believe that during communion the wafer and the wine literally become the body and blood of Jesus, which violates Hebrews 10:10-14 which teaches that Jesus only had to make one sacrifice for all time).
Of course, God has already judged this colossal ecclesial system with the Protestant Reformation. This divine judgment was not just about justification by faith in my opinion, but must involve the Roman Catholic Church repenting from all of the above.
Also, many mainline Protestant denominations have fallen away from the truth because they have embraced the higher critical view that came into seminaries in the mid-19th century, which questioned the validity of biblical authorship as well as the plenary inspiration of Scripture. The result is that many of their clergy don’t believe in the literal resurrection of Christ and do not preach the true gospel of salvation through faith in Christ alone.
Furthermore, even many evangelical pastors believe that the message of the Bible can change based upon the shifting sands of culture, which is why many have embraced unbiblical views regarding gender, human sexuality and family.
When pastors or leaders stop trusting the word of God as their highest authority, they will experience serious decline and/or be removed from their ministries.
2. A leader is not motivated by God’s glory
Any leader, whose primary (subconscious) motivation for ministry is not ultimately the glory of God, is doing ministry for their own glory. This God will not tolerate long and will result in a severe correction that can result in the leader being removed from the scene. God says in Isaiah 42:8 that He will not share His glory with another.
3. A leader’s value system is worldly
When Christian leaders need to continually lavish themselves with opulent gifts replete with a celebrity lifestyle, they have bought into the world system and need to come back to the simplicity of Christ. Even unbelievers can see through the superficiality of these worldly leaders, and it becomes a stumbling block for the gospel. I believe God wants to prosper His people, but I also believe people can go too far and become more fascinated by temporal things than things eternal. God is not going to tolerate this much longer.
4. Leaders who stop earnestly seeking God
In Acts 6, we see the apostles of the church confronted with a serious issue that could have consumed all their time. Peter’s answer was that they were not going to neglect the ministry of the Word and prayer to wait upon tables. Their desire to keep first things first was one reason why the early church was so powerful! When leaders stop seeking God, they are no longer infused by His grace to function, and they operate in their own strength setting themselves up for burnout and moral failure.
5. Leaders stop taking a biblical stand regarding morality
When leaders are afraid to take a public stand regarding ethics and biblical morality, they do not understand the nature of conversion and the gospel. Jesus said we would know a tree by its fruit (Matthew 12:33; Galatians 5:19-21).
The gospel produces root changes in the human heart that is manifest in lifestyle changes. Thus, the Word of God gives us biblical examples of actions that either correspond or do not correspond with biblical behavior. Hence, human behavior, lifestyle and actions are a major indicator, which demonstrates authentic conversion. When pastors and leaders just preach grace and never mention sinful behavior, then they will not see many true conversions. After all, the word “conversion” connotes a change from one particular state to a radically different state of being and living.
Consequently, God will eventually remove the candlestick of a compromising church.
6. Leaders neglect their interior lives
When leaders are too busy to reflect, pray, write, meditate and assess their emotional and spiritual state, they are a potential train wreck!
A leader who neglects their soul is a leader who will not last long in this intense climate of spiritual warfare.
7. A leader searches for significance
Many leaders are driven by ambition and not led by the Holy Spirit. Hence, they get their ministries involved in costly endeavors that God never told them to do! For example if the economy suffers another huge drop in the future, many church leaders are in so much debt from huge building projects that they may have to sell their properties to survive. This search for significance leads to the sin of presumption. The more I grow in Christ the more I discover that my longing to feel significant can only be satisfied in the only significant one, Jesus Christ.
Living with contentment is not a popular message today among the motivational speaking Christian circuit, but it is one of the most important and basic commands of Scripture. Passages such as 1 Thessalonians 4:11; 1 Timothy 2:2; Philippians 4:12 teach us to live a godly and quiet life as believers, what some motivational speakers may interpret as a dull ordinary life. Christ-centered contentment (not fleshly complacency) in a believer is a sure sign that their sense of significance comes from above and not from the earth. God will eventually humble leaders whose search for personal significance dominates their lives.
Joseph Mattera is an internationally known author, futurist, interpreter of culture and activist/theologian whose mission is to influence leaders who influence nations. He leads several organizations, including The United States Coalition of Apostolic Leaders (uscal.us). He also has a blog on Charisma magazine called “The Pulse.” To order one of his books or to subscribe to his weekly newsletter go to josephmattera.org.