What follows is a guest post prophetic word by a trusted friend and spiritual guide. The first part sets the context of prophetic ministry in a biblical pattern; and the second part, with Scriptures, is the unfolding and possible Word of God for the Church.
Since the prophetic ministry is one of ‘turning’ God’s people from their sins – including cultural sins – back to God and back to obedience to what God commands in the covenant, then I think prophecy necessarily includes an interpretation of the times, of the present horizon, relative to revealed gospel centred criteria of evaluation.
Thus prophecy is centrally NT gospel-centred revelation applied pastorally to an interpreted present situation involving God’s people with the goal of ‘turning’ the people as just noted. This is not to dismiss words of wisdom or knowledge, visions, dreams, pictures and so on, but it is to relegate these to a secondary status within the prophetic, and it is to assimilate the same to the ‘turning’ ministry just noted.
There are different levels of prophet: all believers become prophets upon conversion; all members of the congregation are to pursue a congregation-building gift of prophecy; certain believers have a prophetic office within the body and as such ARE God’s gift to the church; a still higher level of prophet is involved in the revelation and writing of Scripture itself.
There is also a hierarchy within the Scripture writers – NT writers are greater than OT writers; and John is the greatest OT-style prophet. Also prominent are Adam, Moses, and David in that they prefigure Christ, the greatest Prophet, who is the second Adam, the Prophet like Moses, and the expected Davidic Ruler. Among NT writers we would have to place the Apostles ahead of the others.
Following a prophecy session tonight at our church and upon reading Mk 6, 1 Cor 11, 1 Pet 5, 2 Ki 8, Jer 44, and 2 Chr 5, I came up with:
Summarising: Possible Prophetic Word
“We are in a trial – difficult times, with the wind against us, and we are suffering. Partly, we are sharing in Christ’s sufferings, as Christians. Partly, we may be suffering physical weakness or paralysis.
One aspect of the latter could be due to God’s disciplining of some for sin. Another aspect, though, could be to do with God doing something that manifests his glory on a grand scale – and we have to step aside, as if paralysed or weak and helpless in a sense, while this happens.
If we share in Christ’s sufferings, then we should take heart, since we will also share in his glory! If we are suffering weakness due to God’s discipline for sin, then we should take heart, since if we respond by humbling ourselves, we will be lifted up in a little while.
If we are feeling weakness and paralysis and having to ‘stand aside’ because large forces seem to be operating around us threatening to overwhelm us, then we should take heart, since Jesus will come, walking upon the chaos, and his glory is the largest power out there! It is necessary for us at this time to maintain repentance, faithfulness, and vigilance because a spiritual battle is in progress that is watched over by both God and the Devil.
The devil and his servants are opportunists – watching over to devour. God is always watching over – whether to judge those who refuse to repent, or to deliver those who maintain repentance, faithfulness, and vigilance. It is also necessary for us at this time both to stand in the true grace of God as we contest for the Gospel, and to rest in the true grace of God due to our sufferings and weakness.
Moreover, it is necessary for us at this time as we seek to become a prophetic community to realise that, since all may prophesy, then even those we do not like or dishonour may have true revelation from God.
Furthermore, it is also necessary for us at this time as we seek to become a community on mission that, on the one hand, we can still trust God for provision for ourselves; but that, on the other hand, we are to play an integral role in God’s miracles of provision for others.
Finally, it is necessary for us at this time to realise that Christ is coming to visit us in a special way to deliver us from this season of trial – so take heart! – but that he might come later than we desire.”
This is a guest post (November 2020).