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Prophecy Relevant Today?|
Q. Is the gift of prophecy relevant for today? What is the difference between the Old Testament prophets and the gift of prophecy in the New Testament? Is it possible the United States is doomed as some are prophesying?
Old Testament Office of Prophet
Jesus himself said, "The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John - since that time the gospel of the kingdom of God has been preached…" (Luke 16:16, NASB). His statement separates the Old Testament "office" of prophet from the Pauline "gift" of prophecy as noted in passages such as 1 Corinthians 12:28 and Ephesians 4:11.
Old Testament prophets prefaced many of their prophecies with, "Thus says the Lord." These were men whom God used to declare the future. They were God's voice to the people and were 100% accurate or they were put to death. Prophets such as Jeremiah, Daniel, Hosea and others held the "office" of prophet. Jesus made it clear that this office no longer exists.
New Testament Gift of Prophecy
However, in the New Testament we are told that many believers have various gifts. One of those gifts is the "gift of prophecy." Its purpose is often to give supporting information as to how God's plan will be fulfilled in various situations. But, it has to be entirely consistent with and validated by the existing Word of God.
A standard Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament defines propheeteuoo as to "proclaim a divine revelation." The second definition is to "prophetically reveal what is hidden" and to "foretell the future."
Paul suggests this in 1 Corinthians 14:30 where it is implied that something is "revealed" to one of the prophets. In contrast, some translate propheeteuoo as to "speak God's Word" as is noted in 1 Corinthians 11:4-5. This doesn't require any special revelation from God.
Patterns in Prophecy
Call to Repentance:
Bible scholar David Reagan suggests that God has a pattern of dealing with nations. God is the one who establishes nations and takes them down (Daniel 2:20-21). When a nation rebels against God He raises up prophetic voices to call the nation to repentance. In this instance prophets know how to apply the Scriptures to contemporary events.
If the nation refuses to listen to prophetic voices, God sends remedial judgments. Deuteronomy 28 mentions judgments such as economic failure, rebellion of youth, divorce, confusion in government and foreign domination. Natural disasters such as drought, crop failure and pestilence occur with increasing frequency.
Finally, a point of no return may be reached and the nation's wounds become "incurable" (Nahum 3:19; Jeremiah 30:23; Micah 1:9). The nation is destroyed. It may occur quickly as with Babylon or the Soviet Union. Or it may occur gradually as happened to the Roman Empire.
Prophets Warned Us:
We have heard from prophets and watchmen throughout the United States warning us of impending judgment. These include pastors such as David Wilkerson, James Robinson, Dr. David Reagan, Bill Koenig, Hal Lindsey, Grant Jeffrey and others.
It appears we may now face the complete destruction of our country. God has repeatedly sent us warnings, wake-up calls and remedial judgments. But, we have ignored Him. Do we now have "incurable wounds?"
Our only hope rests in this Scripture:
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14, ESV).
Notice that this isn't a prayer directed to homosexuals, heathens or the "immoral left." It is God's call to "His" people…"If my people who are called by my name"… That's us - the church and beloved Israel.
Grudem, Wayne. 2000. The Gift of Prophecy. Wheaton, ILL: Crossway.
Reagan, David. 2006. America the Beautiful? McKinney, TX: Lamb&Lion Ministries.
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