Wouldn’t it be great to be a prophet?
They just know stuff, like what’s good and what’s evil . . . and prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel have spectacular stories to tell at church functions—the Lord clothed in Glory, a calling to rule the nations, and visions of heaven.
But isn’t it absurd that some claim to be prophets?
Things haven’t gone well recently for the self-proclaimed prophets you find on TV.
Predictions of some sort of “rapture,” the time of the End, and even the results of recent contested “civic events” haven’t panned out.
And Scripture is pretty tough on “false prophets.”
So, shouldn’t we despise prophecy?
1 Thessalonians 5:20, “Do not despise prophecies, but test everything (another word for this might be “science”); hold fast to what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.”
So, it is important to have “knowledge of good and evil.”
But how do we get that knowledge? Do we just take it, like fruit from a tree?
“Pursue Love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy,” writes Paul to the Corinthians.
So . . . HOW TO PROPHECY:
#1 Tell people what God tells you to tell people (Tell the Truth).
Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel appear to have never taken a class on “how to prophesy.”
They don’t take knowledge and use it for their own purposes; yet Wisdom does seem to take them and use them for his own purposes.
They don’t take truth like its fruit on some tree; if anything, Truth takes them, and they can’t help but worship . . . the Truth.
They don’t control the Truth; The Truth controls them. They’re honest.
If you don’t know what to say, say “I don’t know.” And in just this, you testify to the Truth.
#2 Let the Word of God know you (the Word of Love).
Isaiah is told to prophesy butt-naked for three years, for the Egyptians and Israelites will be taken into captivity with “buttocks uncovered.” It’s not enough that Isaiah knows about what will happen; he must experience what will happen. So, after he sees the Word of God clothed in glory; he must somehow become the Word of God, butt-naked, for three years!
Jeremiah is commissioned by the walking, talking Word of God, told that he is being “set over nations and kingdoms,” and yet, he feels “cursed,” like a “man of sorrows acquainted with grief.” At one point he’s told to prophecy with a yoke strapped to his back and renounce the false prophets who say that Judah will never have to wear such a yoke—a yoke looks like the beam of a cross.
Ezekiel is called “son of man” by the Son of Man, and then told to lie on one side for 390 days, and on the other side for 40 days, as he faces a little model of Jerusalem under siege. Jerusalem is the bride of the Son of Man, and the temple is her holy place. The Lord then tells Ezekiel that his own bride will die, and immediately, he is to prophecy that the temple will be profaned. Wouldn’t it be great to be a prophet?
The prophets don’t just speak a word; they experience the Word that they speak.
They don’t just know a Word; they’re known by the Word.
Paul tells the Corinthians that although they’re so into prophecy, they’re limited by their own restricted “affections.”
Isn’t it odd that we prophecy a pre-tribulation “rapture,” so we won’t be affected by the tribulation?
Isn’t it ironic that we get so concerned about an old city on the other side of the world when Jesus died to make us his bride—his New Jerusalem?
Isn’t it embarrassing that we get so worked up about presidents when the King of Kings sits on the throne in the Sanctuary of our soul?
Isn’t it a shame that we prophecy “hell” and don’t even shed a tear?
Jesus prophesied Hades and Gehenna and descended into both, for in the words of Isaiah, he “numbered [himself] with the transgressors.”
Jesus is the Good and the Life, hanging on the tree in the garden of Eden, Calvary, and the New Jerusalem. How do you know him? Is he valuable information or something more?
Perhaps we are afflicted (in the words of Paul to the Corinthians) that we might be “affected,” hate evil and long for the Good, surrender to his presence, and give birth to His Word—that we might prophesy.
#3 Bear the Testimony of Jesus.
“…The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophesy,” (Revelation 19:10).
Prophets die with him and rise with him; they know, for they have been known.
Old butt-naked Isaiah prophesied that he had been clothed with a “robe of righteousness,” and that we would all be clothed with “garments of praise.”
Jeremiah, the man of sorrow and acquainted with grief, prophesied that our sorrow and mourning will be turned into joy.
Ezekiel was told, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel… therefore prophesy, and say to them, thus says the Lord God: I will open your graves and you will rise from your graves, O my people… And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live.” “Whole house of Israel:” that would include Ezekiel’s bride and the Lord’s bride—Jerusalem. Imagine how this felt for Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Jesus.
The greatest prophetic Word was spoken by a man who looked rather different from those whom you normally see on TV.
He spoke this Word entirely naked, like Isaiah, and nailed to a tree in a garden. He had carried that tree, like the yoke on Jeremiah’s back, up a mountain as he was showered with curses.
He spoke the Word strapped naked to his cross, and staring at his bride, like Ezekiel.
She was his delight, yet in tears, he had prophesied her death. She must die with him and rise with him.
He lifted his head and said, “Father, forgive.”
Then, as the earth shook and darkness enveloped all things, he spoke the Word: “It is finished.” He is the Word, and he is the End.
And he delivered up his Spirit—the Spirit of prophesy.
There are many forms of prophesy, but when you speak the Truth in Love, you are prophetic; you are the incarnation of the prophetic Word: “Man in the image and likeness of God.”