Prophetic Presence: The Sign of the Seers

prophetFor many years now, as a student of both Pentecostal theology and history, I have always wondered of the ever-present desire for Pentecostals to associate themselves with physical addresses. It is indeed strange, for as a movement of the Spirit we have always strived to remain on the go, being always persecuted or ever-changing as people of God. So I am astounded every time I come across a historic attempt to redefine our identity with a place or a location.

The examples are many. From the very inception of the term “spirit-filled” people on the day of Pentecost, we have always associated our experience with an attempting to restore the identity of and struggled to return to the spiritual context in the experience of the Upper Room – a definite location in the city of Jerusalem. Then Paul, before ever answering his apostolic call and entering what would turn to a global ministry, was instructed to go the street called “Straight” – and this was not just a personal experience of Paul, but a corporate calling that includes the prophetic gift of another man and affected the future of the Early Church as we know it.

The early Pentecostal revivalists are best known with the name of Azusa Street, but not before establishing various locations across the country setting a spiritual rout, a geographic walkabout from the Bethel Bible College to the Santa Fe Mission, reaching the small house at 214 North Bonnie Brae Street and the Azusa Street Methodist Mission by 1906.

Synan records that there: “They shouted three days and three nights. It was Easter season. The people came from everywhere. By the next morning there was no way of getting near the house. As people came in they would fall under God’s power; and the whole city was stirred. They shouted until the foundation of the house gave way, but no one was hurt.”

But it was not until the morning of April 18, 1906 that the prophetic presence of the Azusa Street Pentecostal revival received its full recognition. Once the Great San Francisco earthquake hit California, just as early Pentecostals had prophesied, there was no need for preaching or witnessing any longer. Their prophetic presence was evidence in full. For the assigned geographical location for our vision contributes little to our identity in the ministry. It is a prophetic sign for the people we witness to. And this is a Biblical principle.

John the Baptist associated his ministry with the desert. John the Apostle, with the island called Patmos. The Old Testament prophet laid on his side for 390 long days being seen by all. That is one long year and one whole month according to the Jewish calendar. Then 40 days more on his other side, just like the bodies of the two prophets will lay dead for the three days of Revelation. The Seers were there, seeing the future and proclaiming it to the present through nothing less than a prophetic presence. For the Seers must be seen in order to reveal the vision they have seen in the Spirit, in order that both the world and church blinded by sin, can see the vision of the unseen and invisible God.