THE PROPHETIC SAVANT
by Chip Brogden
"...the prophet is a fool, the spiritual man is
mad..." (Hosea 9:7).
"What then is genius? Could it be that a genius is a man haunted by
the speaking Voice [of God], laboring and striving like one possessed to
achieve ends which he only vaguely understands?" --- A. W. Tozer
(*The use of the male pronoun in this writing is for convenience only. We
mean no partiality to our brothers, and no disrespect to our sisters.)
The prophetic savant is a person afflicted with a heavenly autism,
making him nearly incapable of normal relations with those around him.
Accused of being aloof, cold, and distant, he is apt to hide himself from
people, withdrawing into a world of his own. He never seems to be all
"there". Even if he forces himself to come down to Earth for a
moment, those around him may have the sense that there is an unspoken
dialogue going on somewhere inside of him, a secret communion carried on
beneath the surface that never allows him to be fully "in the
How do we explain this?
As a prophetic savant he sees, hears, and relates to the world
differently than the rest of the population.
They have not seen what he has seen; they have not heard what he has
And so he finds very little camaraderie, very little sympathy or
understanding, no one with whom he can open his heart and share his soul,
because he no longer speaks the same language, and
they no longer speak his.
Of course, he may have surface-level exchanges with anyone: he is
approachable, not haughty, or high-minded. He may even be personable and
likeable. Yet there is something so other-worldly in his demeanor that he
is more often frightening that friendly, in spite of his best efforts.
He is a
, and no matter how hard you try to know him, he is generally unknowable,
and to a certain degree, he resists all attempts to know him.
If a prophet is anything, he is extra-terrestrial - above the Earth. He
walks the Earth with others, but he is not of the Earth. He is from
beyond; he is from above. If we trace his history we will find that he may
or may not have had a normal childhood. He may or may not have come
through extraordinary experiences. But at some point in his life, either
as a child, or as a young adult, or as an old man, something from another
realm broke through the thin membrane between Heaven and Earth
and took hold of him
. It may have been a burning bush, or a Voice crying out to him from
beyond the veil, or a Heavenly Vision which brought him briefly into
contact with something and Someone that he could not completely fathom.
However it happened, for one moment at least, the clouds parted and the
veil was rent, and
he saw something that is unseeable; he heard something that is
; Heaven itself was opened up to him, and he saw into another world.
The thing he saw and heard now burdens him like a mantle that has
been draped over his shoulders. He feels its weight, for it is with him
day and night, whether he is eating or drinking, working or resting.
It is the impression that
everything around him is a lie
, and what he has seen and heard is the Truth, and this Truth is not
static, but it is living, growing, and increasing within him from the day
it comes to him in the form of a seed.
For a long time he struggles to find words and vocabulary to express the
inexpressible. He cannot explain why he feels the need to try and express
it, but for some inexplicable reason something drives him to open his
mouth, or take up his pen, and make it known. Whatever it is, it will not
permit him to savor it or keep it to himself, and it seems intent on
coming to the surface and interrupting the normal course of his life. This
process can be frustrating and painful, so much so that
he may give up several times
, content to simply walk in what he has seen and heard and leave it at
But try as he might, he cannot run away from what he has seen and heard,
and he cannot deny the compulsion to bring it forth.
On the one hand he cries out for a "normal" life
, while on the other hand he knows he cannot deny what has been revealed
to him. When he does achieve some modest success in articulating something
of Heaven he is pleased for a time,
but soon grows impatient with it, and eventually is dissatisfied
with it altogether, because it cannot do justice to what he has seen and
And so the process begins again, the continual search for words to more
perfectly express what he is trying to communicate (and a subtle fear in
the back of his mind that he may never be able to adequately express it),
which leads him to invent words which may have never before existed, or to
look for Spirit-inspired words in some unknown tongue that can be
translated into something others can understand.
The prophets of old correctly called it the "burden of the
Lord", for it is like a woman who must live the rest of her life
being in perpetual labor, delivering the same child over and over again.
What relief there is only comes in discharging the burden, but that is not
to say it ever really leaves: it merely allows the prophet time to catch
his breath until the next contraction doubles him over again. The burden
is with him the rest of his life, and he never fully discharges it.
Even when he tries to be disobedient to the Heavenly Vision and flees from
the presence of the Lord he is pursued and hunted down like some kind of a
wild animal who has gotten loose, knowing it is only a matter of time
before he is captured again.
The Voice never leaves him,
the Vision never lets him go
When he refuses to speak then the fire which is already kindled only burns
hotter, until he ends up doing what he has resisted doing all along, just
to relieve himself of the unbearable tension and inward pressure. He
cannot extinguish or quench the fire no matter what he does, he can only
be obedient and find temporary relief, until the next word comes, and then
off he goes.
He may beg God to send someone else, and may protest his inability to
speak, or to write.
But he is already ruined for
, and even when he denies the Lord Who called him and returns to his
former occupation, it is all dull and lifeless, and he meets with nothing
but frustration and failure.
There is no way to escape it
. He knows he is called to something Higher, even when he is clinging with
everything he has to something Lower.
Like a wild horse, he resists the dealings of the Lord and must be broken
before he will obey. Eventually he learns not to resist the Lord, but to
cooperate with Him. He becomes pliable and bendable in order to survive.
His very life now is bound up with what he has seen and heard
. He cannot be disobedient to the Heavenly Vision, and if it means he
dies, then he dies. If it means a renunciation of everything he once
believed, then he renounces it - reluctantly at first, then cheerfully.
If it means suffering the loss of all things, then he lets them go
Over time the one who has seen and heard becomes the very essence of what
he has seen and heard.
The Man becomes the Message
. He bears the Testimony in himself, and becomes one with it. He
needs no preparation to speak; indeed, preparation does nothing to help
the message he brings, and it often gets in the way. His whole life is the
preparation, and since he is the Message, it is with him constantly. He
can no more separate himself from the Message than he can separate his
head from his body. If there is an "On/Off" switch then it was
long ago turned on and
then disabled so that it can
never be turned off again
After many seasons of God's dealings he finally perceives that this is
what the Lord has sought for all along, not just to GIVE him a Message,
but to MAKE him a Message
; to gain for Himself a Messenger and capture him completely, embossing
the Message into his very being.
And so he goes about his daily business, constantly haunted by that Voice,
torn between the menial task at hand which calls for his physical and
mental exertion, and the Higher Calling which seeks his undivided
attention. He knows he should do all things, great and small, as
"unto the Lord". But he also knows that Heaven and Earth are
locked in mortal combat over him while he stands there in the middle, torn
between the two, desiring to depart the Earth altogether and be with
Christ, but knowing that it is more profitable for his brethren if he
remains. Heaven calls him to rise up, but Earth tells him to keep his feet
His heart is constantly breaking and longing to go, to ascend, to rise up,
to stop seeing through a dark glass
, and see face to face, without the distraction of the natural, the
fleshly, the temporal, because he knows the Earth is not his home. Yet he
struggles with the fact that Earth is where he must live and work.
This accounts for why he may sometimes seem
difficult to be around
As a savant he possesses insight and skill which others do not possess.
But it is a gift, not anything of himself, nothing of which he could boast
of. If you were to ask him if he considers this to be a blessing, he would
probably say it is more like a curse, because it sets him apart from
others even when he tries his best to be hidden and to blend in. He cannot
read the Scriptures as others do, for after only a few verses the Heavens
are opened up to him again and he is lost in its depths. A single passage
may keep him occupied for months as Heaven unfolds it to him, and he
cannot tear himself away from it.
His preaching is affected, because he cannot decide in advance what he
will say, and even when he would like to bring forth something new and
he usually ends up saying the same thing
, like, "Repent!" He often does not say what he wants to say,
and does not say it in the way he would like to say it. If he wants to be
serious, he finds himself laughing. And when he wishes to be friendly, he
finds himself screaming at the top of his voice to a startled congregation
of people, who wonder how this fellow was ever allowed access to their
inner sanctum in the first place.
When he leaves a place he almost never sees the result of his labor,
and only eternity can reveal the true significance of what was said. For
now, it is all hidden, and he has to live with the fact that his
fruitfulness will never be measured in terms that human beings, including
himself, can see and appreciate.
He cannot go through the motions of religion like most mortals. It is a
dead, shallow thing to him because it cannot compare to the reality of
what he has already experienced. He finds it difficult to listen to
another person preach when he knows they have not yet ascended to the
heights nor plumbed the depths that he has already navigated. And when he
tries to lead them into these heights and depths himself he is often
misunderstood or rejected altogether. So either he attends the meeting and
suffers in silence, or
stays home and suffers in
solitude; but either way, he suffers
His seeing is affected by a sort of "spiritual dyslexia". While
others view things from a one or two dimensional viewpoint, he sees them
through several dimensions at once - forward, backward, reverse,
upside-down, right-side up: life and death, light and dark, Spirit and
flesh, Heavenly and Earthly - which often puts him at odds with his more
pragmatic and doctrinally-correct brethren.
He is so at one with what he has seen that
he speaks of it as having already happened, because he has, in
essence, already experienced it and lived it. It is the Prophetic Tense,
which calls those things that be
not as though they were
. In his world, the world of the Spirit,
they exist already
. We call it "prediction" because we cannot yet see it with our
natural eyes, but he simply stands outside of Time and views Past and
Future as one unbroken and continuous Present.
His hearing is affected so that he is increasingly sensitive to his
surroundings, even though it seems as if he is not paying attention. He is
listening, but he is listening inwardly. He no longer trusts his natural
ears, because the Heavenly Voice and the inner witness are more reliable.
Thus, he is able to hear God speaking, while the rest of the crowd says,
"It thundered!" or "It was an angel!" He is also able
to hear when God is not speaking, and does not get carried away with the
multitudes who claim to speak, see, and hear things from God
when they have not heard or seen
anything from Heaven
. He cannot bear to listen to them.
His concentration is affected in such a way as to make him appear
obstinate and unyielding to others
. The truth is that he is actually quite flexible and pliable before the
Lord, but before man he is as solid and impenetrable as a rock.
No amount of persuasion or argument from man will move him - but
the slightest touch from the Lord
will bring him to his knees
. Having discovered the One Thing that is needed, he will tenaciously and
ruthlessly shun the "many things" which crowd in to seek his
for he sees everything else
as a distraction
. Indeed, he is quite willing to sacrifice the good in favor of the holy.
And when the Lord has him focused on a particular thing he is as a beam of
light fastened upon a singular point until everything melts before it.
Even his praying is affected, for he can
no longer pray as he wills and
for what he wants
. He seemingly has no will of his own. Instead the Heavenly Voice bids
him to pray with a Heavenly perspective, and all too often the Heavenly
perspective is at odds with the Earthly perspective. So when his
brothers and sisters pray for blessing and increase, he finds himself
praying for destruction and decrease; and when they are resisting and
praying against something, he finds himself asking God to perform the
very thing the rest of the world is against.
To the rest of the world, the autistic savant is a bit of a retarded
genius, an unfortunate mixture of idiocy and brilliance, caught up in a
world of its own. The prophetic savant bears a similar stigma. But if you
engage him at all, you soon discover that he sees all of this as
absolutely normal; the way it is supposed to be. He no longer wishes for a
normal life, because the life he has now IS normal: he has lost his own
life in exchange for a new life. He lives in the Heavenlies while he
walks on the Earth. He does not think of himself as special, as anything
other than a regular person, but often wonders aloud why others cannot see
what he has seen when it is all so self-evident and plain. To him, maybe;
but the rest of us are blinded by the Light he exudes without knowing it.
It will take years for anyone to catch up and understand what this
HAS ALREADY SEEN