We've all seen them. Modern-day prophets claiming today will be the day the world ends. They felt led to declare these predictions, but what led them to this?
Prophets are what we want to dive into in our 2 part blog post. We're in the final module - God's Unfolding Narrative. In this narrative, we will talk about Prophets, The Promised Messiah, The Apostles, and finally The Church. But for today let's discuss what a prophet is.
Let's take a look at what Matt has to teach us about Prophets:
God used divinely appointed men to speak His Word on His behalf to His people. Each of these prophets were authorized by God and had to meet the qualifications of prophets, as established by in Deuteronomy.
So how do you know a prophet when you see one?:
Gives a message that directs people to the only true God (Deuteronomy 13:1-5)
Never entices the people of God to sin or seek after other gods (Deuteronomy 13:6-11)
Words are put in His mouth by God and do not contradict God’s Word (Deuteronomy 18:18)
What He says come true, in the case of predictive prophecy
Recommended Reading. Deuteronomy 13 & 18.
Here are two principles of prophecy that are important to keep in mind in understanding God’s redemptive narrative
All prophecy has at its core the message of repentance and turning to God. Contrary to popular belief, prophecy is not about predictive future events. Prophecy is about directing people to God.
All of the prophets that preceded Christ in one way or another, pointed to Christ. Upon Christ’s arrival and the fulfillment of His work, God no longer has need to send human prophets. As such, BE CAREFUL of anyone claiming to have a prophetic message beyond what has been written down in the Bible.
The book of I Peter talks about how the prophets had the spirit of Christ in them, inspiring their message of repentance, but that their function was incomplete until the coming of Jesus Christ.
I Peter 1:8-10
Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.
Note what Matt says: "BE CAREFUL of anyone claiming to have a prophetic message beyond what has been written down in the Bible."
So, this leads us to ask a quick question... the person predicting end times on your local street corner, where in the Bible does it say that the world is going to end today?
Let us ask another question... why do we freak out over these predictions then?
If these people don't meet God's qualifications (stated in the above section) and it has not been written down in the Bible, then why are we stressing?
I want us to look at a passage from Acts 1. In this passage, Jesus is talking to His followers, post raising up from the tomb, and gives them a piece of advice before ascending up into heaven:
He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority."
So, to use the guy or gal on your local street corner as an analogy for understanding biblical prophets and thus giving us a foundation on which we can navigate, view, and help guide those around us toward biblical understanding. We must look at Acts 1:7
What Jesus is trying to say here is we must adjust our focus on the mission (go and make disciples of nations) at hand and not about the amount of time we have to accomplish this or when the Father will return to save us from this secular world. If we were to know when he was to return would 1. create procrastination and 2. panic. We are all imperfect humans, and thus we would not set our priority on Him until we had to or leverage this information to create fear. In other terms, we would lose sight of the mission.
Our hopes in Part 1 of Prophets is to give you some framework. We want you to understand why these prophets are written about in the Old Testament, how it applies to the New Testament, and finally giving us a fresh perspective to navigate our world.
Remember... prophecy is about directing people to God. Anything else is not of God, lacking His truth, and does not align with His word. It's up to us to remember that there are and will still be false prophets. People are proclaiming things in His name for personal gain. We must do our part in identifying these people and helping others remember the mission at hand - Glorifying Him and furthering His kingdom!
Take time this week to read through Deuteronomy 13&18.
Live for His glory... Succeed for His kingdom!
*passages in blue are passages taken from Fully Packed Adventure Ministries Biblical Foundation training material authored by Matt Allen