Prophets, Prophecy, and the End of the Age
By Scott Ross
The 700 Club
On a recent broadcast of The 700 Club Pat Robertson made statements that stirred people up in regard to certain things he felt may be forthcoming in the U.S.A. and world. His words received some press. It’s not my job to defend Pat, but I am personally being asked how one should respond?
Pat usually couches his remarks cautiously, in that after a season of prayer his comments are what he "thinks" God is saying. I guess we'll just have to wait and find out.
The attached gives a framework as to what Scripture says in regard to prognostications especially if they purport to be from God. We have a responsibility to judge all “so called” prophecy.
It will take a couple of minutes to read through this and a bit longer if you are going to “study to show yourself approved.”
I hope this helps.
- Revelation 19.10 – “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
- Prophecy is consistent with the mind, character, and conduct of the Lord Jesus. It reflects Him.
- The verb – prophesy – To speak forth before, in front, in advance.
- Foretelling – of God’s truth. Not necessarily foretelling. Although prophecy is that as well.
- Distinction – Not all who prophesy are prophets, however all prophets must prophesy.
- Prophecy is a legitimate spiritual gift.
- Romans 12.6-8–Various spiritual gifts, including prophecy.
- 1 Corinthians 12. 7-11 – Various spiritual gifts, including prophecy.
The Purpose of Prophecy
- 1 Corinthian 14.3 – The purpose of prophecy – Edification – build up.
- Exhortation – encouragement.
- Comfort – console, cheer up.
- It is legitimate to want to prophesy.
- 1 Corinthians 12.31; 14.1 – We are exhorted to “eagerly desire spiritual gifts, but “especially that you may prophesy.”
- “Desire” – Definition - To be zealous, burn with desire, and pursue ardently, eagerly, intensely.
- 1 Timothy 4.14 – “Don’t neglect the gift God has given you with the laying of hands for the ministry.”
- This is for the Church collectively and for individuals.
- 1 Corinthians 14.22 – Prophecy speaks to believers and unbelievers.
- Acts 2.17-18 – Peter prophesied there would be an increase in prophesying and other manifestations at the end of the age.
- Notice that this also includes women.
- Luke 2.36 – Anna the prophetess.
Note some characteristics of Anna:
- She was in the temple day & night (In our day this would mean in attitude. Not literally in the temple or church building.)
- She waited on God
- She was a worshiper.
- She fasted.
- She prayed.
- She had faith and vision of the coming Messiah.
- She talked about Jesus to everyone.
Remember Jesus was just an infant at that time, so Anna was speaking prophetically about who this child was, saying He was the promised Messiah.
- Acts 21.9 – The four unmarried daughters of Philip the Evangelist who prophesied.
- Note the Scripture states, “They prophesied,” it does not say they were prophetesses.
- Also women do not fear. Just because they were unmarried and prophesied, does not mean they remained single all their lives!
Sources of Prophecy
- We have a responsibility to hear from God.
- Interpret accurately.
- 1 Corinthians 2.15 – We have a responsibility to judge all prophecy.
- Speaking prophetically
- 2 Samuel 23.2 – His Word on the tongue.
- Jeremiah 1.9 – His Word in your mouth.
- Isaiah 8.20 – We must prophesy in accordance with the Word of God.
- 2 Timothy 3.15-17 – The Scripture.
- Hebrews 1.1-2 – Through God’s Son.
- 1 Peter 1.10-13 – By the Holy Spirit sent from heaven.
- Acts 19.6 – The Holy Spirit upon.
- Acts 21.11 – The Holy Spirit says.
- 2 Peter 1.21 – Prophecy does not originate in the will of man but men (and women) speak as they are “carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
- Acts 3.21-26 – We (God’s people) stand in the prophetic lineage as heirs and offspring of Abraham.
Some Functions of Prophecy
Prophecy can include other related gifts:
- 1 Corinthians 12.4-11 – Various gifts.
- Prophecy can also be manifest through tongues, and interpretation (1 Corinthians 14)
- And music:
- Ephesians 5.19; Colossians 3.16 - Praise and worship, music and musicians.
- Acts 2.17 – And dreams and visions.
- 1 Timothy 1.18 – “Fight the good fight with the prophecies that were given you.”
In other words stand on the Word that you believe the Lord has given you and pray and endure until you see the Lord bring it to pass.
- Don’t try to make it happen.
- Pray for God’s timing. He will fulfill what He speaks.
- 1 Corinthians 14. 29-32 – Prophecy should not be used to excess in a meeting of believers.
- You are accountable. (vs.29)
- 1 Corinthians 14.29-33 - “Spirit of the prophets, is subject (is under the control of) to the prophets. The possessor.
- The Holy Spirit will not violate your will.
- It is a partnership. The Holy Spirit is working with us and vice versa.
1 Thessalonians 5.19-21 – All good instructions of what to do and not to do!
- “Don’t quench, do not put out the Spirit’s fire.”
- “Do not treat prophecies with contempt.”
- “Test everything.”
- “Hold on to the good.”
- Mistakes will be made. Learn from them.
- Don’t throw out prophecy because you or someone else blows it.
- Learn from the more mature.
- Recording prophecies, written or taped for the record, is a good idea. We often forget what is said, or remember only portions.
- Prophecy can be directive
- Acts 11.28 – Agabus prophesies famine. Therefore, the people could prepare themselves.
- Acts 20.23 – Paul was compelled and warned by the Holy Spirit of what was to come.
- Acts 21.4 – The Spirit through some disciples warned Paul not to go to Jerusalem
- Acts 21. 9-11 – Agabus warns, prophesies and demonstrates what is going to happen to Paul.
- Acts 21.10-14 – But it was left to Paul to make the decision as to what to do.
- Again, God did not override his will
Other Sources of Prophecy
- Satanic and Evil Spirits
- Genesis 3.1-5 – The original deception.
- 1 Samuel 28.3-20 - Saul consults a medium.
- There are many violations of the laws of God depicted in these events. It deserves close study.
- Remember that Saul was originally called of God he prophesied. This is how far he had fallen away.
- Note too, the medium did not successfully “call up” Samuel.
- God sent Samuel.
- Saul and the spiritist were terrified!
- 1 Chronicles 10.4 – The result of all this…Saul commits suicide.
- 1 Chronicles 10.13-14 – But the Scripture makes it clear that Saul’s suicide was actually God’s judgment and that “the Lord killed him.”
- 1 Kings 22.15-23 – God permits an evil, lying spirit to deceive.
- Remember that Satan is the father of lies, not God. (John 8.44)
- Ahab, Jehoshaphat, and the prophets wanted to believe the lie.
- Romans 1.24-28 – In our time people are by their own choice, “buying the lie.”
- Note: If you want it, you will get it! Scary!
- Isaiah 8.19-20 – Mediums and wizards.
- Acts 16.16-18 – Deceiving spirit.
This is area we need to be particularly sensitive. There can be a real mixture, of the Holy Spirit, evil spirits and the human spirit.
- We can prophesy out of good intentions.
- Jeremiah 23.15-40 -“They speak and prophesy visions from their own minds.”
- Ezekiel 13.1-23 – “They invent their own prophecies. They prophesy out of their own imagination.”
- Yet they say, “God said, when God hadn’t spoken.”
Ezekiel 22. 26-29 –God’s indictment here is an excellent standard of judgment. This is not just a measurement of the prophecy but of the character of the prophet.
- They don’t distinguish between the holy and unholy.
- They don’t teach “sound doctrine.”
- They are like wolves.
- Prophets for profit! They destroy people for money and profit.
- They speak false visions and messages.
- They say, God said, when God hasn’t spoken.
- They “whitewash” and cover up, and don’t get down to “root causes,” like John the Baptist who “laid the axe to the root.”
- “They oppress the poor, rob the needy, and deprive foreigners of justice”
- Jeremiah 27.9-11; 14-18 – “If they really are the Lord’s prophets, let them pray to the Lord.”
- Samuel 12.23 – “As for me, far be it for me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you.”
- One of the ways that God honors a man or woman is to answer their prayers.
- When you hear a man or woman pray or prophesy in public, you can often tell what kind of prayer life he or she has in private.
- All prophecy is rooted in your personal prayer life.
- Jeremiah 28.1-17 – The confrontation of two prophets.
- Verse 9 – The standard of judgment, “When it comes to pass.”
- Deuteronomy 18. 21-22 – It must come to pass.
- All prophecy should be judged.
- John 4. 1-3 – Test the spirits!
The End of the Age
- Matthew 24.24 – Jesus warns us that spiritual deception will be one of the signs of the times and the end of the age preceding His return.
- 2 Thessalonians 2.1-12 – Ultimately this will result in a great apostasy, a falling away from true faith. Personified in “the lawless one.”
- Verse 11 – Note again…as in Saul’s case and in Romans 1 above, that if you want to buy the lie you will get it. In this case, God sends the delusion that they should believe the lie!
- 2 Peter 2.1 – The deceivers are not just outside, they are among us. (The Trojan horse in the camp!) “False prophets and teachers among the people.”
Wolves In Your Midst
This is not a reason for paranoia or a “spirit of suspicion,” but rather the reason we are to “judge all things,” according to the Word of the Lord as we discussed earlier.
- Jeremiah 29.8-9 – God didn’t send them.
- Note “they are in your midst.”
- 1 John 4.1-6 –Test the spirits according to this criterion.
- Revelation 13.11-18 – Beast with horns like a lamb. Spoke like a dragon.
- Revelation 16.13-14 – Unclean spirits out of the mouth of the beast and false prophet.
- Revelation 19.20 – The ultimate outcome of all this personified in the “beast.” Works signs.
- There is no question about it…we are at war!
- Revelation 21.6-7 – But note who wins!
- Not just Jesus who has already won but those who overcome!
"It is not for us to prophesy the day, but the day will come when men will be called again to utter the Word of God with such power as will change and renew the world!" (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)
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