He goes "I was there."
The purpose of this article is to discuss the foundational “White Horse Prophecy” given by Prophet Bob Jones in January 1983, and most specifically how the content or emphasis of that word has changed over the years. The prophecy was spawned by a vision Bob received August 8, 1982. I'd like to start off with the personal testimony of a good friend we will call “Julie.”
My husband and I were a part of Kansas City Fellowship from it’s inception, until 1990. Here’s our story:
We were part of the original church that Mike Bickle started in the early 80’s called Kansas City Fellowship. In fact, when Mike first arrived in Kansas City, he spoke at a woman’s bible study that I was attending at the time. It was the first time I had heard contemplative prayer taught. I was so intrigued by his teaching, I made it a point to attend his soon-to-be new church. From the church’s early beginnings, we were wowed by the fact that this church seemed to be commissioned by God.
One other important fact that never gets mentioned, and has since been removed from the history. Mike had a quadriplegic brother named Pat whom we were close to. Pat always attended the evening prayer meetings which we also attended. Keep in mind, the early prayer movement was very sparse, a far cry from what it looks like today. Just a dozen or so faithful regularly attended. As a result, we got to know one another pretty well. Well, amongst all the prophecies and promises of the spirit being poured out on us, there was ALWAYS the promise that Pat would be healed. So often was that promise repeated that we spoke of it as a “given.” All of the prophets mentioned it numerous times. In fact, it was going to be THE EVENT that started the whole ball rolling.
Sadly, Pat passed away a few years ago. More sadly, however, is how this often-stated prophecy, at least how pivotal it was, was erased from the history. Now, when new IHOPers listen to the 18 plus hours of how IHOP came to be, they won’t know about Pat and that profound promise that we hoped for in his healing." (2)
With that background, let's talk about the evolution of the "White Horse Prophecy." Bob Jones described this prophecy in detail in a series of recordings made with Mike Bickle in 1988. The recordings were in an interview style, with Mike prompting Bob for stories of their "prophetic history" and (ironically as you will see) keeping Bob Jones on track.
(Mike) The White Horse always speaks, in Bob's Visions...it speaks of a corporate purpose that God is bringing to pass..
(Bob) I saw the White Horse and this time they was a man and that man was laying flat on a board on his back, and they was another one walking (by his) side and I couldn't understand it, but it was like one of them was walking beside of him was one of the men that was chosen to have a little power...and he was to be a leader of this...
This one, that was at his side, was saying "This man, He's not heavy, that I'm bearing, He's my Brother." (3) And that White Horse, some of the main purpose that the White Horse (corporate purpose) was to begin with, was to begin to pray for that man, I didn't know it then, but to pray for the man that was on that board. And the White Horse, I was told to lead the White Horse into the middle of a dry stream. It was a stream that centuries ago had water in it, but now it was dry. And as I led the White Horse right into the middle of the stream the Spirit of the Lord put water, like a little trickle, on both sides of it.
And He said, "I'm releasing the spirit of prophecy, to keep the White Horse in the Middle of the stream, and that's your only duty. Just walk along side, hold on with a gentle reign to keep it in the middle of the stream. Because, one day the rains will come and the flow will begin and when it does, the man on the white horse on the board shall be the one first to touch that stream."
One of our main duties, when we were being birthed, is to pray for Pat Bickle continually. (4)
Something that is done over and over in Mike Bickle's ministry is a recitation of their "prophetic history". I'm reminded of the practice done in a Seder dinner. And it is something that all first-year interns and students are required to study. Of all of the many stories told, the “White Horse Prophecy” has always been central to the movement.
Why? The White Horse Prophecy established Mike Bickle as the (powerful) leader of the movement. It established Bob Jones as the prophetic voice for the movement, to keep it "in the middle of the stream." And it promised great revival, signaled by Pat Bickle's miraculous healing.
This was the general understanding of the prophecy. And the telling of it was repeated over and over. And, as is the case in many charismatic churches, such a review of the things God has done is often done at News Years Eve services. Julie's recollection is not unfounded, as evidenced by some recently-discovered notes taken by her husband at the December 31, 1984 service at South Kansas City Fellowship:
January '83: White horse. Vision with Pat on horse. Said Bob was to steer the horse. Mad dogs on banks to destroy (wrong doctrine). (5)
To make it clear, the pejorative “mad dogs” (rabid) on the banks were pastors and leaders who would try to lead the movement away from its calling. That aspect of this seminal prophecy is worthy of its own discussion because of its self-fulfilling nature. We note now that it has become the main emphasis of the word.
Bob Jones had his White Horse vision in August of 1982, in which a central part of that vision was Pat Bickle. This fact was affirmed by Mike Bickle many times in its re-telling, and also by those apart from IHOP.
Here's a recitation of the same story on the world-hops.com website. World-hops is not affiliated with IHOP, but we present this as independent collaboration. The quotations suggest a transcription of yet another telling of the story by Mike Bickle.
“Bob Jones sees (in a prophetic vision) a river bed. The river bed has 4 inches of water. In the river bed is a white horse. The white horse is depicting this young adult movement that would overcome the flesh and be strong in the Lord.”
“I was in the riverbed with my brother Pat. And there were dogs with rabies on both sides of the riverbed. They were barking. There was only 4 inches of water but a rabid dog cannot get in water. And the Lord told Bob ‘These (dogs) are like righteous men; even in the body of Christ. They will bark and they will accuse and they will put down this purpose of this young adult prayer movement…because they won’t understand it…because we have such a focused assignment from the Lord.” (6)
Don Clasen, in his memoir on his time with the Kansas City Prophets, gives us further detail. It is worth noting that Clasen was part of the movement from November of 1992 to May of 2000. This suggests that the story was still known or told in some manner during that period.
There were other little stories and prophetic parables Bob Jones gave at times for KCF that remain intriguing to this day. One of them was the "White Horse" vision. In this, KCF was likened to a great White Horse that was carrying a rider who was an invalid. That rider was said to be Pat Bickle, Mike's younger brother who had become a quadriplegic due to a football accident a decade earlier. In the vision, Jones saw the rider thrown off the horse, land in a few inches of water, and wind up instantly healed! He was also told that it would not be until this happens that "the [KCF] movement will [really] begin." (7)
However it does appear that from 1988 to 2002, the aspect of Pat Bickle in the vision was being minimized. Julie states:
I believe this 'vision' began morphing, at this point in 1988, into a vision that wasn't so much about Pat's healing, as about young leadership not being mauled by the mad dogs. Those of us who were paying attention noticed the decline in interest toward Pat.
Pat was always the rider on the horse with Mike standing along side. This was repeated often in the early years of KCF. As the years went by, and the power just wasn't showing up, and Pat just wasn't being healed, discussion of him being healed was less and less. (8)
A twelve-session “Prophetic History” series was recorded in 2002 (9). There is no mention of Pat Bickle at all, but the story about the rabid dogs was strongly emphasized, perhaps because (as predicted) many pastors and leaders had been speaking out against the movement by that time (10).
After many years of battling infections and pneumonia related to his paralysis, Pat Bickle passed away in May of 2007 at age 50. He had been paralyzed for 33 years, since the high school football accident at age 17. As a testimony to his faith, his sister Tracey stated “he believed to his last dying breath that the Lord was going to touch his body.” (11)
On September 17 through 19, 2009, in celebration of the 10th anniversary of IHOP, Mike Bickle presented a new version of his "Prophetic History," replacing the 2002 tape series that was mandatory training material for his students at IHOP. The prophetic history now has the cumbersome title of “Encountering Jesus: Visions, Revelations, and Angelic Activity from IHOP-KC’s Prophetic History.”
The original sermon outline to Session 2 of the 2009 version talks about Bob Jones and his vision of the White Horse.
On August 8, 1982, Bob saw a white horse in the middle of a river bed that had 4 inches of water in it, with rabid dogs on the sides. Bob saw me and my brother Pat in the river bed. He stood behind us. Bob saw that when the Lord “raised up Pat,” then the floods of the Spirit would follow in God’s timing. The Lord raised up Pat and took him home to glory when he died on May 5, 2007. (2009 outline) (12)
This is the first known extant use of the term “raised up Pat,” which is congruent with the understanding that the Lord would heal Pat as the sign of the start of great revival. By using the phrase “raised up” Mike was able to redefine that event as the death of Pat.
This outline, of course, was the outline that Mike used to preach from, and that was handed out for people to follow along. When it came time to tell the story, in 2009, Mike chose to deviate from his sermon outline and gloss over the entire aspect of Pat Bickle.
He said on August 8th he saw a white horse in the middle of a river bed. And this white horse, which speaks of this young adult movement, was in the middle of a river bed. That river bed had four inches of water, it had rabid dogs, or dogs with rabies on both sides barking at this horse. But the dogs wouldn't get in the river because dogs with rabies, I've been told, don't like to get in the water. (2009 audio) (13)
This suggests that Mike had second thoughts about trying to use the “raised up” sleight-of-hand, knowing that his followers might not buy it. However, we cannot know the motives of a man's heart. And understandably, the death of Pat must have been a huge disappointment in Mike's life.
The disappearance of Pat Bickle from the seminal “White Horse Prophecy” became finalized in 2011. On Mike Bickle's website, you may download audio, video and notes from the Prophetic History sessions. The series is still promoted as eight sessions from 2009.
For this reason, during IHOP-KC's ten-year anniversary in September 2009, Mike took eight sessions to retell the most important prophetic experiences. (14)
However, session two of that series – audio, video and notes- are from 2011 (15). The remainder of the sessions are the actual 2009 sessions.
Interestingly, for the 2011 video-taped recording, Mike wore what appears to be the same blue shirt with a black tee underneath as he wore in 2009, and it is obvious from some of the introductory remarks (“what I covered in our first session”) that this was intended to replace the 2009 session 2.
We have eight sessions on our prophetic history. When I talk about our prophetic history, I’m talking about some outstanding and significant events that the Lord released in our midst. Most of them occurred in 1983 and 1984. At that time, the Lord was laying the foundation for things that are happening now, twenty-five or thirty years later. Roman numeral I. I want to remind you of what I covered in the first session. (2 years ago -ed) The first encounter I had with the Lord related... (2011 transcript) (16)
The 2011 revised outline to session 2 also changes things slightly. The other session notes posted on Mike Bickle's website remain unchanged.
"On August 8, 1982, in a vision, Bob saw a white horse in the middle of a river bed that had four inches of water in it, with rabid dogs on both sides. He knew that the white horse symbolized the young leaders of a future prayer movement. The dogs in this parable spoke of church leaders who did not see the value of the four heart standards or the need for a focused prayer ministry but saw it as being extreme and unnecessary. The white horse stood in the center of a nearly dry river bed. Bob stood behind it. His assignment was to help the “white horse” (the young leaders) to stay in the middle of the stream as they were preparing for a coming flood of the Spirit. (The preparation was connected to upholding the four heart standards given in Cairo)." (2011 outline) (17)
Compare again to the 2009 outline:
On August 8, 1982, Bob saw a white horse in the middle of a river bed that had 4 inches of water in it, with rabid dogs on the sides. Bob saw me and my brother Pat in the river bed. He stood behind us. Bob saw that when the Lord “raised up Pat,” then the floods of the Spirit would follow in God’s timing. The Lord raised up Pat and took him home to glory when he died on May 5, 2007. (2009 outline) (18)
Note that in the 2011 version of the prophesy Mike and Pat Bickle have vaporized, the White Horse became "the young leaders," and there was no longer any mention of the Lord healing Pat as a sign of revival. Now, those were the notes; what did Mike actually say in the recording?
He (Bob Jones) said, “This white horse was in the middle of a dry riverbed.” He went on to explain that this white horse represented a company of young leaders in the early days. It was those leaders who were involved in this purpose back in 1983, 1984, and 1985. The Lord gave a symbolic picture of these leaders as a white horse. Of course, that symbolism could be applied to many different ministries around the world. He said, “I saw these white horses. I saw this company of young leaders, and they were in the middle of a dry riverbed. There was a small amount of water—about four inches.” He said, “There were these mad dogs on each side of the river. These mad dogs had rabies and they were barking and accusing and trying to bite this horse.” The Lord told Bob, “Your assignment is to keep these young people, this white horse, in the middle of the stream. (2011 transcript) (19)
The transcript was provided by Bickle's ministry, and the quotations are as printed in the transcript. Bob Jones claims to have had perhaps dozens of visions of the White Horse, and in those the White Horse always represents the movement. And Bob tells the story different each time; but we note that he can't even quote Scripture accurately. As Mike explained in 1983, “The White horse ...it speaks of a corporate purpose...it's thousands of people with a purpose.” However, in the specific White Horse/ rabid Dog vision, Bob Jones made it clear that “they was a man and that man was laying flat on a board on his back, and they was another one walking (by his) side... and he was to be a leader...”
Obviously, the White Horse Prophecy was very important to the folks in this movement, and was understood to specifically relate to Pat Bickle right up to the time of his death. Now it conveniently relates to "the young leaders." One can only surmise that it would be a distraction to the eager interns to try to explain away the complications of a failed prophecy.
If we are to revere prophetic words from these “prophets of renown” do we as mortal men, have the right to change those prophetic words to suit our present circumstance? I have already discussed this in my article on the so-called "Blueprint Prophecy." Can we change these words so that we look good before men, or to dodge criticism? Apparently, in Kansas City, Mike Bickle can.
And this being the case, why should we believe anything he says? Strong words?
Back in 2008 Mike Bickle said "I feel like many of God's shepherds are lying..." (20) If this is so objectionable (it is) then why should Mike Bickle be given a free pass? Can man fudge a prophecy? Or gloss over a failure? If so, should we listen to anything such a prophet says (Ezekiel 13)? Did the prophecies about Pat Bickle, now conveniently pushed aside, build up false hope among those at Kansas City Fellowship?
This is what the Lord Almighty says: "Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes." (Jeremiah 23:16)
Friends, this situation speaks to the veracity and authenticity of Mike Bickle's ministry. John Wimber told Mike Bickle years ago that the prophets should own up to their failed prophecies (21). Owning up, in this case, would be far better than first stating that "The Lord raised up Pat and took him home to glory when he died on May 5, 2007" and then when that didn't seem to work, writing him out of the story altogether. God desires truth in our "innermost being" (Psalm 51:6).
(1) Mike Bickle, Encountering Jesus: Visions, Revelations, and Angelic Activity from IHOP-KC’s Prophetic History. Session 2 - Great Light, the White Horse, and the Chariots. September 18, 2009. Audio recording. http://media.ihop.org.s3.amazonaws.com/4ef34277-dd20-4986-a9f8-ad1d3ba057c3.mp3
(2) Personal correspondence (2010), also posted at http://thegreycoats.wordpress.com/2010/01/14/julies-story/
(3) This was seen as prophetic, because Mike Bickle had privately adopted the words of this then-popular song to apply to him and his brother and his vow to take care of him. See David Pytches book "Some Said it Thundered" page 82.
(4) Mike Bickle with Bob Jones. Visions & Revelations. Fall 1988. Audio recording. The White Horse story starts at about 22:00 on tape 2.
(5) Personal correspondence, August 16, 2011. Notes found on a church bulletin from that service in Julie's husband's bible.
(6) Found at http://world-hops.com/OurPropheticBlueprint.html
World-hops is not associated with IHOP but has posted a rather detailed report of the prophecy presumable a transcription of Bickle and Jones from a recording at some time.
(7) Don Clasen, "Vintage Metro: My Eight Years With The Kansas City Prophets" http://www.birthpangs.org/articles/kcp/kcp-Vintage-Metro.pdf
(8) Personal correspondence, August 20, 2011
(9) The 2002 sessions are known as the 12-part "Encountering Jesus" series. Transcripts and high-quality mp3 recordings are available at http://www.rockriverhouseofprayer.com/audio/audio.html
(12) Mike Bickle. Encountering Jesus: Visions, Revelations, and Angelic Activity from IHOP-KC’s Prophetic History. Session 2 - Great Light, White Horse, Chariots, and Sands of Time. September 18, 2009. Sermon Outline. http://www.ihop.org/Publisher/File.aspx?ID=1000014256
(13) Mike Bickle. Encountering Jesus: Visions, Revelations, and Angelic Activity from IHOP-KC’s Prophetic History. Session 2 - Great Light, White Horse, Chariots, and Sands of Time. September 18, 2009. Audio Recording. http://media.ihop.org.s3.amazonaws.com/4ef34277-dd20-4986-a9f8-ad1d3ba057c3.mp3
(15) The date of April 25, 2011 is posted along side the listing for that particular session.
(16) Mike Bickle. Encountering Jesus: Visions, Revelations, and Angelic Activity from IHOP-KC’s Prophetic History. Session 2 - Explosion of Light, the White Horse, and the Chariots. April 25, 2011. Transcript.
(17) Mike Bickle. Encountering Jesus: Visions, Revelations, and Angelic Activity from IHOP-KC’s Prophetic History. Session 2 - Explosion of Light, the White Horse, and the Chariots. April 25, 2011. Sermon Outline. http://www.mikebickle.org.edgesuite.net/MikeBickleVOD/2011/20110425_Explosion_of_Light_the_White_Horse_and_the_Chariots_IPH02.pdf
(18) Mike Bickle. Encountering Jesus: Visions, Revelations, and Angelic Activity from IHOP-KC’s Prophetic History. Session 2 - Great Light, White Horse, Chariots, and Sands of Time. September 18, 2009. Sermon Outline. http://www.ihop.org/Publisher/File.aspx?ID=1000014256
(19) Mike Bickle. Encountering Jesus: Visions, Revelations, and Angelic Activity from IHOP-KC’s Prophetic History. Session 2 - Explosion of Light, the White Horse, and the Chariots. April 25, 2011. Transcript. http://www.mikebickle.org.edgesuite.net/MikeBickleVOD/2011/20110425_T_Explosion_of_Light_the_White_Horse_and_the_Chariots_IPH02.pdf
(20) Promotional video podcast promoting Onething 2008. Transcription from contemporaneous note by the author. The video is no longer on the internet.
(21) Wimber's statement in 1990 said that KCF needed to address errors including "The lack of accountability for prophecies that do not come true or do not bear witness to the person receiving the ministry." Grady, Lee "Resolving the Kansas City Prophecy Controversy," Sidebar: Making Corrections, Ministries Today, September/October 1990
Note: Digital copies are on file of all audio, video (where available), outlines and transcriptions (where available) of the prophetic history sessions referenced in this article, including the 1988 sessions, which were originally on cassette tape. Meta-tag data on all digital files (post 1988) have been forensically examined to confirm the correct attribution of the dating of documents and recordings, and the authorship of documents. In many cases, duplicate files have been obtained from discrete sources, with confirming meta-data.
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