Prophecy and the Prophetic – Part 2
Continuing on this theme, I retained the same Bible reference because of its importance. Apart from the Spirit of Christ leading us, a spiritual gift becomes corrupted. We learn to be in tune with the Lord. We learn to speak only what we hear Him say. I have made mistakes, not rightly understanding a situation or the Lord’s thought on it and said things I ought not have said. Timing is also a part of using our gift maturely. I have learned this in practical ways such as not bringing up money issues with my wife early in the morning. Bad timing. If we find ourselves always wanting to share our revelation, we may need to learn to defer so that others have opportunity to share theirs.
We also learn that God’s truth can be spoken without it sounded like a “prophecy”. The Lord speaks to us in a way we can understand. He knows our personal and cultural language. It seems to me this is an overlooked part of 1 Cor. 13 where Paul writes about speaking with the languages of men and of angels. That includes earthly languages. Are we speaking to show off or are we led by the Spirit to bring a timely and truly helpful word? He spoke in parables and used natural realities to teach spiritual truths. The Bible is full of the Lord speaking to us through natural pictures.
Since the time of Christ upon this earth, the Lord has been speaking. He was speaking before Christ’s appearing but He clarified and magnified the message in His Son, Jesus Christ. Read Hebrews chapter 1 again. Knowing the Son and the only true God is the essence of it all. The Holy Spirit was poured out to be carried to the ends of the earth by transformed messengers. So we are today. As He is, so are we in this world. We become the message. Yes, we speak but it is also the Spirit when people are drawn to us because they recognize something in us. When they see, when they hear Christ in us, the hope of glory, they desire that glory. His glory is His life.
John knew the Lord closely, intimately, by the Spirit, before his eyes were opened wider on Patmos. He was given a full revelation of the awesome One, the Lamb of God. And the Lord and angels gave him messages of things yet to come. His revelation is similar to Daniel’s and Ezekiel’s and Isaiah’s. The Lord was still speaking through His servants, whom He called prophets. Looking back we see fulfillments. Jesus prophesied (foretold) of the destruction of Jerusalem. Every believer, and I suppose some non-believers, have read Matthew 24. Jesus says that the end will be as it was in the days of Noah. Simply understood, those who are in a hearing relationship with God will prepare. The others, with evil in their hearts will be taken away. The Lord brought a flood of rain and waters from underground. He will do it by fire at the last day, the great and terrible day of the Lord. Further, He says, two will be side by side and one will be taken away and the other left. They are at work, at their places of daily responsibility. Who was taken away in the flood? The wicked, evil-hearted ones.
Jesus, knowing the Father’s perspective and ways, knew the temple would not stand. The system under the religious, the combination of Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians, Essenes, and others, was desolate. It could not bring life. That system was wiped away in 70 AD. It’s continuation by some today is still desolate and dead without Christ. Jesus told of a situation and warned that when they saw an abomination in a desolate place, they should flee to the mountains. Like Lot, they would be safe there. This going higher to safety is a natural, but a spiritual picture as well. We draw close to the Lord as He warns of coming trouble.
The Bible, in the new testament writings, is full of warnings so that we may prepare. In Acts, we twice read of Agabus, who spoke of a coming famine, and later, gave a personal prophecy regarding Paul. In the second case he gave a visual demonstration as well as words concerning what Paul would soon experience. Note that in Acts 21:10, it’s recorded that he made a trip to deliver that message. That is a picture of being directed by and obeying the Spirit. The Lord does the same with us today.
We are all learning to follow the Spirit’s lead today. In the Lord’s eternal purpose, nothing is new under the sun. It may be new to us personally. May we remain open vessels to receive new understandings of what God ordained beforehand that we should walk in. When He comes He will reward us for what we have done. That will not include those works of our own, done independently of relationship with Him. Those will be burned in the fire. Whatever we do, whatever we say, may it be done in love and humility as He leads.