I have enjoyed lots of different responses to the blogs on the prophetic, from hostile to affirming. No, really, I have enjoyed the challenges and debate, because it forced me to think through and reflect more deeply, which is what this blog is about for me. It’s been an enriching experience!
Some things have become much clearer to me; like the role of the local church in recognising the prophetic person, so that they’re KNOWN. Agabus was taken very seriously in Acts, presumably because he was known, and he must have had a considerable track of record in terms of accuracy also to get such a large scale, immediate response. Imagine if they had all started famine relief collections and then there was no famine! So too we can really only weigh and test prophecy when we have a relationship with the prophet. And the Body of Christ as a whole can only weigh internet prophecies based on relationship with the people involved to some degree, even if it’s only a recommendation from someone you trust.
Another thing that’s helped me is to understand that the Lord always gives CLEAR words and directions. He does not communicate with his people in riddles – although sometimes He used riddles with outsiders, like Samson and the Philistines. Reading today about Joseph, I was struck by his assertion to Pharaoh in Genesis 41:15-16:
And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that you can understand a dream, to interpret it.” So Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace.”
God will give an answer of peace, in this case it was not only understanding the dream meant an upcoming famine was certain, (not very peace inducing) but also wisdom as to how best to respond to the warning, by setting up storehouses to keep the surplus grain for the famine years.
Perhaps this is where we sometimes miss it – we dismiss something we don’t understand, because we don’t seek the Lord for understanding and wisdom. Or we DO understand, but we don’t find the wisdom of God on how to respond. A fine missionary, who was planting a church in a new town, received a very strong prophetic dream from a lady, which was a bit weird, about a demon named Sylvia, but the meaning was clear, they should hold off on the plant. However, the team pressed ahead, thinking they could prevail through spiritual warfare, and the warnings came to pass, right down to a lady called Sylvia coming to wreck the church!
So if we receive a word/dream as coming from the Lord, we need to press in until we know for sure what it entails, until we have the answer of peace. After all, Paul went on to Jerusalem despite the many prophetic warnings, because he had clearly settled it in his own heart, made peace with it, if you like, as we can see in Acts 20:22-24:
And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself,[b] so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
And last, but not least, I noticed how often the prophetic highlighted an existing, ongoing command of God, giving it a specific, NOW dimension, making rhema out of logos if you will. Jesus had already given the disciples the Great Commission to go preach the gospel in all the earth, but then specifically directed Peter to preach to Cornelius the Gentile, and specifically directed Paul to Macedonia, and not Asia at that point, via a prophetic dream.
And so we too need the Lord to highlight living Word to us, so we can go where He is going and do what He is doing, the way Jesus only did what He saw his Father was doing. (John 5:19) This takes humility towards God and one another as He awakens our ear to listen as a disciple. (Isaiah 50:4)
Thanks to everyone who gave me feedback. And here’s a great link I was sent, if you want some more……