Prophecy

<<speaking for God>>

Prophecy is proclaiming clear-cut messages from God giving insight, correction and warning of what He expects or demands from people and can include predicting future events; it is special revelation, truth that cannot be discerned by any other means. Through a prophet, God would reveal truth that the people needed to know, and sometimes, that truth would be recorded in written form. This, ultimately, resulted in the Bible, the Word of God, the ultimate special revelation from God.

The goal of prophecy is that people will be strengthened, encouraged and comforted (built up, stirred up and cheered up) to live rightly before God (2 Kgs 17:13; 1 Cor 14:3). God spoke through a number of prophets in the OT. The prophet Joel said, “In the last days [end times] your sons and daughters will prophesy”, while Paul said “Desire spiritual gifts especially the gift of prophecy”, so the believers would be edified (Joel 2:28; Act 2:17,18; 1 Cor 14:1,4,5,39). Speaking on God’s behalf to people must be done with love, remembering that the purpose of all prophecy is to glorify Jesus – some even told others about Christ yet because they were not genuine believers themselves would not go to heaven (Mt 7:2,23; 1 Cor 12:4-11,28,29, 13:2; Eph 4:11; Rev 19:10).

There were many OT prophecies telling about Jesus, eg. He would be born in Bethlehem (Mic 5:2 and fulfilled Mt 2:1-6); born of a virgin (Isa 7:14 and fulfilled Mt 1:18-25). Jesus said, “The Scriptures are fulfilled in your midst” (Isa 61:1,2; Lk 4:17-21). He also predicted several events; some that happened in the lifetime of His hearers, while others that tell about His return are still to happen (Mk 13:1-30).

We humans are prone to project our human thoughts and desires into the lives of those around us, with the possibility of moving from the spirit to the flesh realm, and consequently speaking out our own soul’s desires or imagination. Thus we are told to judge what people say – to see if it is in agreement with Scripture, not contradicting

If it lines up with Scripture – obey,                                    if not – reject it

God’s Word in any way; it uplifts Jesus and edifies the believers as many false prophets will speak lies and deceive people (Jer 14:14; Mt 24:24; 1 Cor 14:3,4; 2 Cor 11:3,4; Rev 19:10). There also must be harmony and order in the exercise of the gift of prophecy (1 Cor 14:29-33,37-40). If it is considered genuine this must be acted on, if false it must be rejected, so pray for discernment to know what is from God (Deut 18:19). “Do not treat prophecies with contempt [disregard, disrespect]. Test everything. Hold on to the good” (1 Thes 5:20,21). Remember, any human spokesperson is just His mouthpiece and is not to be glorified.

We can and should regularly encourage and challenge other believers, sharing our experiences of God with them, and maybe suggesting (not telling) what we feel they should do, however the option is theirs to agree with or decline our suggestion, as it is in counseling. No believer is to force their expectations or agenda onto another with a ‘Thus says the Lord…’ attitude as this infers unless there is compliance the only other choice would be disobedience; this borders on the area of witchcraft. This is an area where those with strong personalities can fall into deception and, by manipulation, control vulnerable believers. We can however point out the commands and principles of Scripture for their consideration as whatever is from God will conform to the Word of God (Act 17:11).

A believer receiving a personal word of general prophecy from another believer will already know something of this in their spirit through the prior working of the Holy Spirit and it will merely provide confirmation. We have a personal responsibility to hear from God directly first, and then get others to confirm our impression, submitting ourselves one to another (Eph 5:21). Any specific spiritual direction from another should only be given or received in the presence of others who can witness and judge the content (1 Cor 14:29). This relates particularly to predicting future events.

Some things are naturally predictable, because of observations gained over a period with the same pattern emerging (Mt 16:3,4).

See also: foreknowledge, predict, prophet, self-fulfilling prophecy, spiritual gifts.

 


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