I am not going to go into a lot of the Old Testament (OT) prophetic but one thing about the Lord we all quote is that He never changes and there is no shadow of turning in Him. There are a lot of Christ followers looking to the prophetic for guidance. It seems that they are not finding guidance but flowery words that do not help them be who they need to be for the relationship that Jesus paid a high price for. Through out scripture there are divine encouragements given but never divine flattery. There is a need for a fresh word from the Lord that will bring His Church into alignment with Him to bring the fulfillment of His desires on this earth! That word will start with his acknowledgement of who we are and then bring a correction that will lead us in the right direction so that ALL of the church will find the walk needed to reach every tribe, kindred and tongue (every nation) for Him!
Encouragement enforces identity and strengthens people without exaltation and brings one the courage to walk out God’s call or purpose that is always filled with persecution, trials and the enemy’s desire to destroy our faith. Flattery exalts a person and their calling in a way that sets them apart from the rest of the body at least in their own mind by making them special. Encouragement can easily become flattery through an abundance of good sounding words. Flattery makes us feel good while encouragement empowers and directs us. (For the most part Christians do not like being moved out of their comfort zone. Lots of nice words that make them look special keeps them comfortable and feeling good about themselves)
To this end I have been looking at the prophetic written in God’s Word to find where the prophetic needs to walk.
Most of the prophets who actually spoke for God that are in the books of the OT were found to be a minority of one when it comes to what they said. Those who spoke what the Kings wanted to hear ended up not having a true word from the Lord. When all the company of prophetic speakers told the kings they served “good words” those words ended up not being from the Lord. It seems that the real words were generally corrective and directive not “you shall live long and be greatly blessed”. The edifying word seemed to always have an, “if you change or if you follow my commands or some such word, then what would follow required heeding God’s corrective direction. The true prophetic showed them the right path and what changes needed to happen to bring God’s favor onto the nation of Israel, or what they needed to continue doing to remain in the right position with Father for the people to be blessed and Israel to be a blessing. If you look at the words given Abraham, Moses, David and a few others there is always a condition or command to keep that went with their calling. And the great calling of these men was not flowery or given in public. Most of their callings were not given to them publicly or in a crowd.
Somehow we have come to think that New Testament (NT) prophetic has changed and become flattery with no or little cost. (Since I have many times been called out as a prophet or prophetic individual I have studied bible prophetic utterances quite a bit as I take seriously speaking for the Lord. As a result I am always amazed at what I hear in prophetic ministry. I find little like it in the Bible and what I find that is like what I hear seems to be what the majority of the prophetic spoke to kings that ended up not being God. So I am going to include some of my findings:
(Eastmans Bible Dictionary) The “prophet” proclaimed the message given to him by God, as the “seer” beheld the vision of God. (See Num 12:6 8.) Thus a prophet was a spokesman for God; he spake in God’s name and by his authority (Ex 7:1. He is the mouth by which God speaks to men (Jer 1:9 Isa 51:16), and hence what the prophet says is not of man but of God (2 Pet 1:20, 21; comp. Heb 3:7 Acts4:25; Heb 3:7). Prophets were the immediate organs of God for the communication of his mind and will to men (Deut 18:18, 19). The whole Word of God may in this general sense be spoken of as prophetic, inasmuch as it was written by men who received the revelation they communicated from God, no matter what its nature might be. The foretelling of future events was not a necessary but only an incidental part of the prophetic office.
The great task assigned to the prophets whom God raised up among the people was “to correct moral and religious abuses, to proclaim the great moral and religious truths which are connected with the character of God, and which lie at the foundation of his government. (emphasis’s mine)
(EBD) In New Testament times the prophetical office was continued. (my note it does not say changed! A divine speaker is a divine speaker.) Our Lord is frequently spoken of as a prophet (Luke 13:33; 24:19). He was and is the great Prophet of the Church. There was also in the Church a distinct order of prophets (1 Cor 12:28; Eph 2:20; 3:5, who made new revelations from God.
(NKJV Study Bible – Notes) Perhaps you think of prophecy as having mainly to do with predictions about the future. That’s understandable, since prophets in Bible times sometimes foretold what would happen in the future (for example, Is. 7:14–17; 45:1–7; Jer. 28:12–17). However, the purpose of prophecy goes beyond merely informing people about things to come. There are at least two additional reasons why God spoke through the Old Testament prophets:
First, prophecy shows that the Lord is God. A god who cannot reveal himself to human beings is unlikely to command much respect. But through prophecy, the Lord has made Himself known in compelling ways. For example, He demonstrated His omniscience by revealing to the Israelites what would happen in the future, something no pagan idol could do (Is. 48:5). He also demonstrated His power through the prophets in ways that left no doubt about who He is (1 Kin. 18:36–39).
Second, prophecy announces God’s word. Closely related to God’s revelation of Himself through prophecy is His communication of truth that He wants people to know. Prophecy is often referred to as the “word of the Lord” (Is. 1:10; 28:14; 38:4); in fact, it is often prefaced by the words, “thus says the Lord God” (7:7; 10:24; 22:15). Thus prophecy is revelation from God. It brings to light truth that would otherwise remain unexpressed.
The point of these revelations is not merely to inform but to declare what is true, and then to tell people how they should live in light of what is true. Sometimes prophecy helps to warn people about the consequences of their actions, and sometimes it encourages them when circumstances appear to be desperate. But whatever its effect on people, the purpose of prophecy is to proclaim God and His word.
(NKJV STRONG’S) g4396. προφήτης prophētēs; from a compound of 4253 and 5346; a foreteller (“prophet”); by analogy, an inspired speaker; by extension, a poet: — prophet.
AV (149) – prophet 149;
in Greek writings, an interpreter of oracles or of other hidden things. one who, moved by the Spirit of God and hence his organ or spokesman, solemnly declares to men what he has received by inspiration, especially concerning future events (see note), and in particular such as relate to the cause and kingdom of God and to human salvation. (see the following NOTE by me) “concerning” could also be “affecting”i.e. thus a divine word that will affect or change you and thus the future could equal ‘concerns the future’!)
(Olive Tree Enhanced Strong’s Dictionary) prophecy; a discourse emanating from divine inspiration and declaring the purposes of God, whether by reproving and admonishing the wicked, or comforting the afflicted, or revealing things hidden. Used in the NT of the utterance of OT prophets of the prediction of events relating to Christ’s kingdom and its speedy triumph, together with the consolations and admonitions pertaining to it, the spirit of prophecy, the divine mind, to which the prophetic faculty is due of the endowment and speech of the Christian teachers called prophets. the gifts and utterances of these prophets, esp. of the predictions of the works of which, set apart to teach the gospel, will accomplish for the kingdom of Christ
1 Corinthians 14:3 (NKJV Strong’s) But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.
- Edification – the act of one who promotes another’s growth in Christian wisdom, piety, happiness, holiness. (Promotes = to advance or move forward) Note-to move someone forward requires direction not flattery. Telling someone how great they are does not help them walk. Telling them the truth and cost or direction might be better suited to guide them.
- Exhortation – imploration, hortation, solace: — comfort, consolation, exhortation, entreaty. a calling near, summons, (esp. for help )importation, supplication, entreaty, exhortation, admonition, encouragement note; (an exhortation is an utterance, discourse or address conveying urgent advice, concerns or recommendations given to aid direction.) (hortation – to incite exhort, give advice, urge)
- Comfort – any address, whether made for the purpose of persuading, or of arousing and stimulating, or of calming and consoling consolation, comfort note; (the purpose of the word comfort is that a prophetic word should bring someone to a “comforting” place. ANY WORD that will bring you into the right place with God would be comforting but does not mean it is a nice word, simply must be the truth which is what sets us free.)
So, I am one who wants to be right with Father in prophecy. Father does encourage us but He never exalts us. I did a study Father led me to on flattery and flattering, and I ended up not liking what I found. The study changed me!.(I wrote a paper on it that can be found on the website for FHM). God doesn’t like flattery. I see nowhere that God flatters people. He encourages, leads and speaks truth that leads us to be in right standing and going in the right direction with Him.
The NT prophetic messages:
- John the Baptist – repent for the kingdom of God is at hand
- Jesus – repent and believe, follow me! His words always confronted the religious and those who wanted to follow Him by telling them the truth and the cost of following Him.His words were always obedience based, that is they required an obedience. His words caused many of those following Him to turn away and leave Him – only 12 stayed and one of them was a betrayer. His words did not make suggestions and always revealed the cost of walking with Him. He told all of His disciples that their future was persecution, hatred toward them and troubles on every side. He even told them how their lives would end but, NOT how many people would receive Him through their words or how great they were.
- The Apostles – repent, you crucified the Christ, there is no flowery words spoken by them over anyone.
- Ananias – tell Paul all he will suffer for the sake of the gospel, not how many he will reach and how great his ministry will be.
- Agabus – to Paul, whoever wears this girdle or belt will be put in chains and suffer at the hands of the rulers in Jerusalem.
- John – in Revelations his word to the Church was, Jesus loves you BUT I have these things against you!
Words of flattery and that exalt your calling or who you are are not found to be in the Bible. He does lead us, direct us, encourage and comfort us in trials and life but He does not exalt us. He will reveal our calling but in that He does not flatter us or tell us how wonderful we are. He tells us how much He loves us without fanfare and He always shares what it will take to see the fulfillment of His call or the direction He shows us to walk in. He shows His love!
When the Lord called me and revealed His desire for my life, He showed me what He wanted me to do, who He wanted me to be and then revealed the cost. He showed me what I would experience when I was 12 and then asked me if I would stay with Him to the end. He then told me to think about it before I said yes. I knew that in this calling there would be souls saved and healings but there was no exaltation statements in His calling about how glorious and wonderful it would be. Father did not ever tell me how great my ministry would be.
Many people though the last 35 years have come to me and told me how great my ministry would be and how multitudes of multitudes would come to the Lord through the ministry I was called to. They would tell me of all the great things the Lord would do through me and of the abundant provision that would be ours. When these words started to come to me I felt that leaders would have to recognize who I am and want to be around me… I felt that whatever finances were needed would be there abundantly – Not so much! Were the words true? Yes, but they did not help me or They did not prepare me for what was coming or teach me what I needed nor give me the attitude or courage needed. In actuality when the trials and tribulations started, these glowing words I had received over the years almost destroyed me because, “How could this be God”? Because of the flattery and exaltation of what I was called to do I almost walked away when the persecution and trials came!
There is no calling without cost! The cost prepares you and pushes you toward the fulfillment of Father’s desire – because they push and pull you closer to Him! The calling of God is to the Cross! Jesus fulfilled Father’s desire through death. To see Father’s desire for us completed will bring us to and through death to all but Him.
The true prophetic is not flattering divine words.. It is “the truth” spoken through love that leads us to the cross and then onward from there to the fulfillment of Father’s heart for his people — to seek and save the lost and destroy the works of the enemy by going “just like Jesus was sent”!
The five-fold gifts given to the body are not given to govern with, but to serve the body. (The body was not given to the gifts but the gifts were given to the BODY).
The Prophetic should reveal to the Church how to stand and be like Jesus, to be Father’s presence and Love in all our living, not just in meetings of the brethren!
The Church is going to see Ananias and Sapphira, Simon and other judgments again, because the fulness of grace cannot be known without the judgments of God that reveal it. His loving judgments will begin to destroy the evil which compromises His body and His kingdom. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Seeing the strength of His love for His people and the truth will cause more to enter the Kingdom just as it did in the book of Acts.
The prophet must have more of God’s type of Love than anyone else because of the strength of His presence that is going to be seen through them as they bring a standard to our walk with Christ.
Compromise of and lies to Holy Spirit will bring God’s presence to bear on our behaviors!
I have seen Jesus stand up and I believe he is preparing to and is bringing judgment to the Church. This has to happen before He can judge the world. God has not changed nor is there a shadow of turning in Him. Those words are still true! Who He has been He still is and ever will be! The strength of His love is going to be revealed afresh! The great Love of Father and His truth is coming once more and it has not changed!
Neil W Gamble