The world has almost always held true prophets to be insane. Church leaders will generally find true prophets about as welcome as ants at a picnic. One of the main problems with the church today is a misunderstanding of what a true prophet is and how great is the need for true prophets in the church in these today. Every true church of Jesus Christ will welcome the gift of true prophesy. Everyone knows that there are true prophets and false prophets. How to tell the difference between true and false prophets will be given toward the end of this section.
Just because we are warned to beware of the many false prophets of the last days, be careful not to conclude the ministry of true prophets ended when John said Amen at the conclusion of Revelation.
The Hebrew word naba not only signifies to foretell events, but also to pray and make supplication; and nabi, the prophet, was not by office a declarer of future events, but primarily a preacher of righteousness for his day. That is why the world views true prophets as crazy. That is why the church has even called them crazy and even killed them. That is why the church today so disparately needs true prophets. That is why we are all called to seek to be true prophets.
The prophet is called to see future events in the light of the righteousness or wickedness of the people to whom God made everlasting covenants. His main work is to urge men to live righteously and godly according biblical principles. His secondary work was to warn of events to come in view of the attitude of the people concerning the will of God, and to pray and make supplication for the people and for God to be merciful. Do you see that we are all called to be prophets? Will you help me see my blind spots and help me see my sins? Will you pray for God to be merciful to me? Will you be a prophet to me?
10 RULES TO FOLLOW IN INTERPRETING PROPHESY:
1) Forget the idea that God seeks to hide from us the very thing that He is trying to give us. God does NOT want His revelation to us to be mysterious.
2) Give the same meaning to the words of prophesy that you give to history. It is wrong to think that the words of the Bible have any different meaning than simple plain literal sense. The Bible does not have different mystical meaning than the simple, literal, ordinary or common usage of the words.
3) Do not change the literal meaning of prophesy or any other scripture to a spiritual or symbolic meaning.
4) Do not seek to find hidden meaning in the words of scripture, such as making the USA in JerUSAlem represent the United States.
5) Believe that prophesy can be understood as it is, without any changes or additions. It is simple history in advance.
6) Forget the idea that prophesy must be fulfilled before it can be understood. All true prophesy is as clear before its predictions take place as after their fulfillment.
7) Do not interpret God's own interpretation of any symbol or prophesy, or change His meaning from that which is plainly and obviously clear.
8) Give only one meaning to a passage, the plain literal meaning, unless it is made clear that a double meaning should be understood.
9) Recognize a prophet primarily as a preacher of righteousness, for this is the key to the interpretation of many prophesies. He is not primarily a fore-teller but rather a forth-teller or a speaker for God to rebuke, instruct, and correct. He would speak to edify, exhort and comfort even when there was no predictive element in his sermon.
10) Keep in mind the history of the writer, his times, and his circumstances. Keep in mind the purpose of his predictions, the people to whom he was speaking, and the subject of his message. With this in mind and a little knowledge of the manners, customs, and expressions of his age and the people he was associated with, there should be no misunderstanding of anything which the prophet wrote.
1 Corinthians 14:20-25 Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men. In the law it is written, With <men of> other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying <serveth> not for them that believe not, but for them which believe. If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in <those that are> unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad? But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or <one> unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on <his> face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.
Acts 3:18-21 But those things, which God before had showed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. Hebrews 1:1-2 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners sp ake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by <his> Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture <is> given by inspiration of God, and <is> profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
1 Peter 1:10-12 Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace <that should come> unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.
2 Peter 3:2-9 That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as <they were> from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day <is> with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
The Testimony of Yeshua (Jesus)
IS the Spirit of Prophecy.
1. Few in Number; trusts only in God
2. Generally disliked and not trusted
3. Speaks what God says - "God says, the bible says, thus saith the L-rd...
4. Gives warning of God's judgment of all
5. Works in the Holy Spirit and wields the sword of truth
6. Demonstrates the Power of God and shows the Glory of God
7. Socially unacceptable and does not conform.
1. Many of them; trusts the majority opinion
2. Generally liked and trusted by the people
3. Speaks his own assumptions - "I think, I believe, It seems to me that ...
4. Speaks of peace and prosperity
5. Uses power of suggestion or illusion; calls it signs & wonders
6. Demonstrates the wisdom of men and enjoys men's praise
7. Socially acceptable and conforms to people's expectations
Few in number; trusts only God: Jer 17:5 Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. Generally disliked / not trusted by people: Mat 5:12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. James 5:10 Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. Speaks the oracles of God; "God says ..." Deu 18:18 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. Gives warning of God's judgment to all Ezek 33:7 So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. Works in the Holy Spirit and wields the sword of truth: 2 Pet 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. Demonstrates the Power of God and shows the Glory of God: 1 Cor 2:4-5 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. Socially unacceptable to the proud; does not conform to people's expectations: 1 Cor 1:26-29 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. Speaks a compelling message: 1 Cor 14:37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. Seeks God's will in your life: Prov 3:13-14 Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. Seeks God for His counsel: Amos 3:7 Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets. Calls for the testing of prophets 1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Shares that we too are subject to God's judgment, to fear God Rev 22:18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: Shares Scripture to show the truth: 1 Cor 14:37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. Testing The Prophets
Characteristics of False Prophets
Large in number; trusts the majority 1 Ki 18:19 Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel's table. Generally liked / trusted by people Luke 6:26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets. Speaks presumptuously of God; "I think ..." Deu 18:22 When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him. Speaks of peace and prosperity: Jer 23:16-17 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD. They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you. Uses the power of suggestion and illusion; calls it signs and wonders: Mat 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Demonstrates the wisdom of men and enjoys the praise of men: Luke 6:26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets. Socially acceptable to the proud; conforms to peoples expectations: 2 Tim 4:3-4 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. Promotes self-interest: Phil 2:21 For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's. Seeks your money in his life: Luke 16:13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Gives counsel to God: 1 Cor 2:16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. Demands belief in his position: 2 Pet 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. Shares that God will not judge you, do not fear God: 2 Pet 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. Shares opinion to explain Scripture: 2 Pet 3:16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. Reprinted by permission from Lion and Lamb Ministries
Words of a True Prophet for Right Now
And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Son of man, what is that proverb that ye have in the land of Israel, saying, The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth?
Tell them therefore, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will make this proverb to cease, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel; but say unto them, The days are at hand, and the effect of every vision.
For there shall be no more any vain vision nor flattering divination within the house of Israel. For I am the LORD: I will speak, and the word that I shall speak shall come to pass; it shall be no more prolonged: for in your days, O rebellious house, will I say the word, and will perform it, saith the Lord GOD.
Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, Son of man, behold, they of the house of Israel say, The vision that he seeth is for many days to come, and he prophesieth of the times that are far off.
Therefore say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; There shall none of my words be prolonged any more, but the word which I have spoken shall be done, saith the Lord GOD.
And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel that prophesy, and say thou unto them that prophesy out of their own hearts, Hear ye the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing! O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts. Ye have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel to stand in the battle in the day of the LORD.
They have seen vanity and lying divination, saying, The LORD saith: and the LORD hath not sent them: and they have made others to hope that they would confirm the word. Have ye not seen a vain vision, and have ye not spoken a lying divination, whereas ye say, The LORD saith it; albeit I have not spoken?
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye have spoken vanity, and seen lies, therefore, behold, I am against you, saith the Lord GOD.
And mine hand shall be upon the prophets that see vanity, and that divine lies: they shall not be in the assembly of my people, neither shall they be written in the writing of the house of Israel, neither shall they enter into the land of Israel; and ye shall know that I am the Lord GOD. Because, even because they have seduced my people, saying, Peace; and there was no peace; and one built up a wall, and, lo, others daubed it with untempered mortar:
Ezek 12:21- Ezek 13:10
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