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--Why Dad took off for Heaven despite prophecies that said he'd stick around!--By Maria
       Maria #252 DO 2969

              1. (Just before Dad went to be with the Lord, members of a WS unit were asked to desperately pray for him, after which they received some prophecies that indicated that he would be physically healed and raised up. In her "Why Cry" Letter, Mama addressed this when she said, "You may have gotten verses or prophecies that seemed to strongly indicate that Dad was going to be healed here on this earth, and you're confused and wonder if you have been misled and are a false prophet." In addition to her counsel on this subject in the "Why Cry" Letter, Mama also had the following to say:)
       2. I don't think that the prophecies that seemed to indicate that Dad would be healed here on this earth are a result of the people who gave them being off the track. Just an hour before Dad went to be with the Lord, even when some of our staff here knew how serious things were, quite a few of them received similar indications that Dad would be raised up and healed.--Things that seemed to very much point toward a physical healing right here and now on this earth. So it did occur to me that it was quite unusual that quite a few people on our staff as well as those at another unit had gotten prophecies that seemed to be going in the opposite direction of what actually happened.
       3. For example, one prophecy received by our staff said, "For there is much more for My servant David yet to do. I will strengthen and heal him, and ye shall rejoice and give glory unto Me. For it is by My hand only that he has been saved. Your prayers and the prayers of the children of David shall restore him and shall strengthen him. For this is the medicine of the Spirit that shall heal, and shall cause him to recover."
       4. I don't think that the Lord was trying to hide what was going to happen with Dad.--Especially from our own staff, since Dad was going to be gone in less than an hour. You would have naturally thought that the Lord would have been preparing people's hearts, especially the folks here. But to the contrary, almost everything the Lord gave us seemed to strongly point in the direction of Dad's being raised up to continue here with us in this present world. There was no indication in these prophecies that he was going to be leaving us.
       5. Our people here have never had problems with getting off the track in their prophecies. So I believe that these were straight from the Lord, and that the Lord had a very good reason for giving them.--And as I say, I don't think it was to deceive us or hide Dad's homegoing from us. At that point in time, the Lord would not have been trying to cover things up or hide Dad's passing from us here. So what's the answer?
       6. Well, the only thing I can think of is something that sounds so "natural" and so typically "earthly" that it is hard to imagine that it would also be true in the Spirit: I'm convinced that the Lord had offered Dad a choice, and that he had chosen to stay with us, but then, in the very last moments, he changed his mind. I believe that's why so many of the prophecies seemed to be indicating that he was going to be healed here, that there was still work for him to do and that the Lord was going to raise him up to continue with us for a while longer, etc.
       7. I know definitely that only a few hours before he died, he was not thinking about death nor planning to go anywhere, except off to try to find something that he had seen in a dream. He awoke from a nap and the first thing he said to me was, "I've got to go with them tomorrow. I've got to go to identify that strange house in my dream because I'm the only one who knows what it looks like!" That was at the time that we gave him his milkshakes, a good nutritious meal which he drank just before he went to sleep--a sleep from which he awoke to a wonderful new world in Heaven!
       8. So I believe that even up through the last hour before his death, when people were praying and getting prophecies that he was going to continue with us, that Dad himself was determined to remain here with us. But at that last minute something changed his mind and he decided to make a different choice. Maybe the heavenly spirits were presenting the pros and cons throughout those last hours and Dad was still wanting to stay and help us and thought it would be too difficult for us if he left. But at the last minute some circumstance or event or strong reasoning from the spirit world made him decide to go.
       9. This, of course, is the kind of decision-making and choice and changing of our minds that we do all the time here on this earth. We can often be pretty determined to do one thing, but at the last minute, due to changing circumstances or arguments or events, we suddenly change our plans.
       10. I'm desperately praying as I'm telling you this because I don't want to just be speaking off the top of my head, just my own ideas. But what just came to me is that Dad was waiting for me to give the official "release order," so to speak, which I didn't do until less than an hour before he went to be with the Lord. Of course, all along in my heart I had been willing, but I hadn't consciously thought of it at that time because we just didn't have any idea that Dad was actually going to be leaving us then. We didn't have any idea of that until we found that we couldn't wake him up, and his breathing was rapid and shallow, which I knew must be very hard on his heart. That was the first hint we had that he might be leaving us. If I had thought about it earlier, I think I probably would have given my consent earlier. But prior to then it just hadn't occurred to us that he might be leaving us then, as the Lord had always delivered him before.
       11. I believe it was the Lord's wonderful mercy on us that it happened the way it did, so we didn't have to worry about it in advance. It was all so unexpected. I'm crying as I say this, because Dad loved me so much that I can see how he would have wanted to make sure that I was in agreement with his leaving us. In other words, he wanted me to make a definite choice, too. So maybe in that last hour when he changed his mind, he only changed it because he then knew that I had given my definite verbal consent. I had put it into words to the Lord, telling the Lord that if He wanted to take Dad now or Dad wanted to go now, it was okay with me.
       12. Concerning any prophecies that members of our worldwide Family may have received after Dad's homegoing, but before they heard the news, that seemed to indicate that Dad would be raised to health to continue with us here, I think that's probably a different story. In the case of any such prophecies that seemed to indicate that the Lord was going to heal and raise him up, I think the Lord was deliberately hiding Dad's homegoing from them until they were able to get our official announcement about it in the GN, along with the beautiful messages from Heaven, the compilation from Dad's Letters, the reading list, etc. Many of the messages or visions that people interpreted as physical healing in this life could have just as well been interpreted as deliverance from this life into the next, gloriously healed and strengthened. Even though the Lord meant them to apply to the spirit world and heavenly healing, the wording was such that it could also be interpreted as physical healing, and that's the way most of you took them.

       An Encouraging Confirmation!
       13. {\ul \i (A short while later, after dictating the above:)} I just listened again to all of the prophecies that one of our units received just before Dad went to be with the Lord, when they were praying for the Lord to heal him and raise him up. I found an amazing and wonderful confirmation of what I explained earlier. I was so encouraged to hear it, as it just goes along exactly with what I was saying: That even though Dad had up to that time been resolved to stay, at the last moment, he had begun to consider the possibility of going, and he was having a hard time making the decision whether to go or stay, and they were debating it back and forth and weighing out all the pros and cons.
       14. In fact, it seemed that up until that time Dad had no thought of leaving us, and that's why almost all of the prophecies pointed in that direction. But at the last minute, the pros of going obviously outweighed the cons, and from what I got, it was because I cast the deciding vote when I consciously told the Lord I was willing to let Dad go. Hallelujah! Thank You Jesus for those beautiful, beautiful things, wonders of the spirit world!
       15. {\ul Here is the vision I'm referring to: The Family member says, "I got the phrase `the choice is his,' meaning that the choice is Dad's}, and with it came the vision that while Dad is in this state [EDITED: "in a deep sleep, unable to be waked up"], he and the Lord are communicating and weighing out the pros and cons of what Dad is going to do. He is having a hard time deciding, because his soul longs to be with the Lord, but it also longs to be with us. It is like a debate is going on, and the choice is his, so we just don't know yet what decision he is going to make."
       16. Obviously, Dad could have stayed had he so chosen. By faith, the Lord had already defeated the Enemy because of our prayers, and that's why all these people got so many encouraging verses that indicated that the Lord was going to raise him up. And if Dad had chosen to stay, then he would have been healed and raised up, just as the prophecies indicated. And in fact, he was apparently planning that himself, until the very last minute.

       More Questions about the Nature of Prophecies
       17. (Following is an excerpt from a letter to Mama from Apollos, asking more about the prophecies that indicated that Dad was going to remain with us in the flesh.)
       18. Thank you for the good explanation you gave about the prophecies received before Dad's homegoing that indicated that he would be raised up to remain with us here on earth. I think this explanation is real good and will be easy for most everyone to understand and accept without any problem. But if you don't mind, I wanted to ask a little more about this, if I may.
       19. You have explained that the reason people received prophecies about Dad being physically healed was because Dad was planning to stay here with us. But the question that I still have is that if a prophecy is the Lord talking, it seems to me that because He is there in the great eternal now, and He is not bound by what we mortals do or don't do at any given time, when He says "this and that is going to happen," that's it, it's final--regardless of what we do or don't do in the meantime. In other words, if we view the prophecies we receive as direct Words from God in which He is telling us what He is going to do about any given situation, if a prophecy says, "Next week this and that will happen," then it seems that we should be able to assume that this indeed will be the case. Others might have similar questions.
       20. Personally, I'm not having any kind of big trial about this, and am actually hesitant to even bring this up. But seeing that we've already mentioned to the Family this explanation about why some prophecies along those lines were received, I thought that it wouldn't hurt to further explore this question with you.
       21. Mama, in connection with this, I just thought of the story of Jonah and what happened to him. The Lord's message to Nineveh through Jonah was not, "In forty days, I might destroy Nineveh!" He said flat out, unconditionally, "In forty days Nineveh shall be destroyed." But the fact is, Nineveh was not destroyed. Why?--Because of human choice and free will, which virtually changed the mind of God. So, despite my above questions and reasoning, I realize that God is not limited by our finite conception of things, and certainly not by my analytical surmisings! So please understand that I'm not trying to refute what you've already said about this, and as the illustration of Jonah makes pretty clear, there is even a Scriptural precedent for it. I just thought maybe I should mention my question regarding this, in case anyone else might have similar questions.

       Mama's Response: How God Leads His Children: One Step at a Time!
       22. Thank you for your questions about the prophecies that some folks received which seemed to imply that Dad would be healed here and now, when the Lord already knew that Dad was going to leave us to be with Him. Well, it seems perfectly logical to me that since Dad had chosen to stay, the Lord was honoring our people's prayers and encouraging them with the fact that He was healing Dad. Until Dad changed his mind and decided to go, that's what was going to happen. Why should this be so strange? This is the way we make decisions and operate here in the natural world, so why should it be so much different in the spirit world?
       23. By the way, I think that was a great example about Jonah, and I think we should publish that, as it might help the Family. If it helped you, I think it would help others also, to provide them with a Biblical precedent like that.
       24. Let's face it, we are human, we are in this world, and when we make our plans, sometimes at the last minute, due to fresh information we receive or new or different circumstances that arise, we change our plans completely. But in the meantime, the Lord usually goes along with us, and He gives us promises and encouragement according to what we're planning. Now that I think back, I can recall several times when this same principle was at work. We were planning one thing, and the Lord responded accordingly, but when we changed our minds and decided to do something different than what we were previously planning, the prophecies or promises that we got for our earlier plans no longer applied.
       25. So I'm going to stick to my guns on this. I have prayed desperately about it, I really prayed a lot about this and told the Lord that He had to give me the right thing. I know I probably don't understand it all and perhaps I'm missing some of the pieces of the puzzle, but I think basically this is the way it is.
       26. We want to know why God, Who knows everything, doesn't just pass all of our stops and starts and backtrackings and go right to the essence of the matter and have what He tells us in prophecy be in exact accordance with what He knows the final outcome is going to be. I don't know exactly why He does it the way He does, but I have the feeling He probably does things that way to sort of go along with our human ways of doing things and the natural direction things take. He just goes along with us step by step because He doesn't want to run ahead of us, just like He doesn't like us to run ahead of Him.
       27. He is a Father with His children, and He is teaching them step by step and helping them to learn as they go along. He doesn't go way up to 12th-grade level and start teaching them all about 12th-grade subjects when they haven't even gotten to the 4th grade yet! He doesn't usually present His children with things that they couldn't possibly understand or they couldn't bear until they're really ready for them, before the proper time. Even Jesus told His disciples that He had many things to tell them that they simply weren't able to bear yet (Jn.16:12). And I'm convinced He often works the same way with us today!
       28. I can think back and recall different times when we had all planned to go on a trip, and we prayed and asked the Lord for promises of protection, and He told us that He would go with us and preserve our going out and coming in, and would protect us in every way, but then at the last minute we decided for some reason not to make the trip. Also, we've had other times where we have asked the Lord about certain situations and whether they were safe for us to go there, and He said yes, to not worry, that He would protect us wherever we go, etc. And it turned out that we never did go to that place. Why didn't the Lord just tell us, "Don't worry about it, you're not going to go there anyway"?
       29. I think if you'll think back on things you'll see that often the Lord does that. Not long ago I asked one of our units to pray about whether or not we should send a team to attend a government-sponsored conference to which the Family had been invited. The Lord was quite specific in saying that yes, this was His open door and an opportunity for us to witness, He would be with the team that went there, etc. However, in the final analysis the host country changed its mind and called off the conference, and there was nothing at all that we could do about it. Circumstances had changed and it had obviously become a closed door.
       30. I think if we would look at a number of past prophecies in that light, prophecies that we sort of wondered about, we would have a greater understanding of what was going on. I was talking with Techi about this and she said, "But why does the Lord do that? Why doesn't He just tell us what is going to happen instead of just `going along with us,' so to speak?" I had to say, "I don't know the entire answer, but I have a good idea!"
       31. The Lord apparently knows that it's best that we don't always know all the details of the future, at least not very often. He usually hides the future from us and makes us take things one step at a time. I suppose it's because He likes to see us exercise our faith. As Dad has often said, the Lord loves faith, and it greatly pleases Him when He sees we're willing to trust Him completely, whether we can see and understand what He's doing or not. He wants us to keep trusting Him for every step that we have to take, and He wants us to see the whole process through instead of jumping from the beginning right to the end.
       32. We learn a lot from following along step by step, going along on just the little bit at a time that the Lord reveals to us. We follow Him from point "a" to point "b," and then from there we have to make another decision, "Where do we go from here?" We desperately pray and ask the Lord and He shows us a little more, how to get from point "b" to point "c," and we then go on and on to the next steps. But the Lord doesn't usually show us the whole picture A to Z in advance. Dad brought this out in his Letter "Explorers." (See ML #2958.) Like Abraham, we often have to go out not knowing whither we go. Or like Dad said about himself, he had to go out not even knowing exactly what he was looking for, but just following the Lord step by step.
       33. So in many ways, the Lord confines Himself to operating within our frame of reference, within our circumstances. And He does "go along with us" a good deal of the time, and when we decide something, He acts or reacts accordingly. It's like He says, "Well, you have now decided to do this, so I have promised to do such-and-such, in light of your decision." But if we later change our mind and decide to do something else so that our previous plans are no longer in effect, then His promises or His instructions for our former plans are no longer in effect either.
       34. Why did God say that Nineveh would be destroyed in 40 days, knowing that it wasn't going to be? Some people might even say that God lied to them. Well, the Word says, "Let God be true, but every man be found a liar!" (Rom.3:4). Somebody suggested that maybe the Lord said that to get Jonah to go preach to the Ninevites like he was supposed to. I'm sure that Jonah's preaching that message was an outgrowth or result of what God said, but I don't think He said that only because He wanted Jonah to do his job. I think He said it because that was the fact.
       35. At the time, Nineveh was going to be destroyed in 40 days! According to their circumstances at the time, that was what was going to happen. God was just warning them what was actually going to occur; that was what they were headed for. But of course, when Jonah went and preached to them, they had a wonderful repentance, and their change caused God to change! He went along with them. The circumstances changed, so what God originally said was no longer applicable. God gives us the majesty of choice, and then He goes along with us and gives us what we need or tells us what to do according to what we have decided.
       36. So instead of blaming it on God or automatically concluding that folks are false prophets when something they prophesy doesn't come to pass exactly as they said it would, we might consider that maybe somebody here on earth changed their mind, and as a result God changed His.
       37. How many prophecies of healing have we received for people that we were absolutely convinced were promises of God's supernatural miraculous healing without the help of any doctors or medicines? But the next thing we know, the person is in the hospital having an operation. Does that mean that God's promises weren't true, or that those who gave them were false prophets? No, of course not! In many cases that was what God was going to do and would have done if the person had wanted it badly enough; but he or she made the choice against it.
       38. Why didn't God just tell us, "They're not going to have the faith and they are going to go to the hospital, so I'll just use the doctors to heal them," since He obviously knew what they were going to do in the end? What if He had said that? We would have lost the comfort, the encouragement and the faith-building promises not only for the person in question but for all the other folks involved. We would have lost even the test for the individual who was being promised a miraculous gift of healing by the Lord, but who had to make a choice.
       39. It seems perfectly logical to me that God would work this way!--Logical, but at the same time truly amazing that God would confine Himself to what we decide, and work within our structure and frame of reference, giving us not only the choice but the backing, support and instruction for each decision. As Dad has taught us, there are often many paths we can take within God's will, many choices we can make within the spectrum of what He allows us.

       More on the "Jonah Phenomenon!"
       40. (From Apollos to Mama:) Thank you, Mama, for elaborating on the God-goes-along-with-us perspective on prophecy, or what we could loosely term the "Jonah phenomenon." Thank you for taking your time to go into such detail to explain it all.
       41. I feel that understanding this principle helps to sort of put prophecy in its proper place, in the right perspective. In other words, even though we view prophecy as a wonderful means by which the Lord speaks to us and encourages us, it is not necessarily a "written-in-stone" unalterable means of discerning God's will. Just because someone receives a prophecy that indicates something will happen or should be this or that way, we shouldn't get locked into taking it as "Thus saith the Lord, this is how it will be, this is exactly how it will happen," or "This is exactly what you must do!" I understand that our own decisions and choices, based often on the knowledge and wisdom that He gives us (which, of course, are also "gifts of the Spirit"), are still very instrumental in our determining God's will, even after specific prophecies may have been received.
       42. And even when specific prophecies are given for an individual or situation, we know, as Dad has frequently said, that even then prophecies are conditional, depending on our choices, our yieldedness, etc. He said, "We've got to do everything we can do.... Look at the things the Lord said about Rachel, they didn't sound conditional. Of course in a way, every prophecy is conditional that we must obey and we must follow the Lord and yield to Him.... Even those early prophecies about Saul didn't sound like he was necessarily going to be a failure, but he failed the Lord in the end" (ML #847:20,21).
       43. Otherwise, if all the prophecies we receive are perceived to be the inviolable Word of God, the need for any further thought or counsel or prayer or decision-making would be negated. But because, as you say, the Lord sort of stoops to play by our rules and work within our frame of reference, often guiding us according to our own finite understanding of the overall big picture which He alone sees, His guidance to us via prophecy is not something that we should just jump on and follow blindly. We still need to use all of the other gifts of the Spirit to determine and confirm if what the prophecy says to do is really the best thing, bearing in mind that Dad taught us that there were at least six other ways to find the will of God. (See ML #829, "The Seven Ways to Know God's Will!") Dad also said, "Most of the time God uses your good common sense and the gifts of the Spirit he's already given you, such as wisdom, knowledge, etc., rather than some direct, spectacular, miraculous, supernatural revelation!" (ML #51:42.)
       44. In my opinion, this "God-goes-along-with-us" perspective enables us to use and benefit from prophecy without our having to worry too much that whoever happens to be giving a prophecy might possibly wind up exerting more influence or directing us more than they actually should be. I'm not sure if my reasoning here is expressed clearly enough or even sounds so reasonable, but I just wanted to say that I personally feel that understanding this concept of the "Jonah phenomenon" could really benefit the Family, assuring everyone that just because someone in their Home might prophesy something, it's not necessarily something they have to be completely locked into. Like Dad said, prophecy is usually the voice of the Father encouraging His children, and any specific guidance to move or act in a certain direction should be weighed against some of the other means of finding God's will, which should also point in that direction.
       45. So all that to say, thank you so much for explaining all of that, it was a real help, and I feel it will be helpful for all! PTL! I love you!

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