Prophets or Prophecy?

This topic is one which raises eyebrows among many people. The two words are closely related, but can mean vastly different things. For instance, prophets whom The Lord sent in times past often had unique things to tell those hearing them. Israel and Judah are the most obvious examples as God sent many to both groups and also did before they split into the Northern and Southern kingdoms.

There were also times when God would speak through people heralding that events previously foretold were occurring before their eyes, in real time. Peter was one such example among many as He quoted, in detail, from the prophet Joel in Acts chapter 2:17-21. The quote was from Joel chapter 2:28-32a and Peter quotes that passage to let the world know God was making this prophecy come to pass before them and said it would continue until The Day of The Lord, which is significant in and of itself, but that is another story.

Jesus had a similar occasion to quote a prophet when He read from Isaiah 61:1-2a, which is recorded in Luke 4:18-19. So precise was His reading of that passage that he interrupted the passage because He was there for the first part of the prophecy, but would not fulfill the next part until some time future to our days, though that day seems closer by the day. Let's compare the two passages.

Jesus quotes this:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”

Notice what is said in Isaiah 61:1-2
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Because the Lord has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,

As we read further from Luke's account we see that Jesus added these words.
Luke 4:20-21
Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

So for today, the "prophets", so called, whom we see in some parts of the church are not impressive when they step outside of what has been spoken by God already in His word. We can see plenty of events which fit in the prophetic timeline and point them out. That does not make one a prophet, it simply requires someone who takes God's word seriously and rightly applies God's word to events. There is not a need to put dates on events, until those events happen. It would not have taken a prophet to quote any number of passages when Israel was once again sovereign in their land, they would only need to quote what God promised He would do in restoring them in ancient times.

It is with that in mind that we need to be careful to see when God speaks of matters with no historical fulfillment, and know they must yet be future. Even those who do not subscribe to Biblical prophecy admit the world as we know it will not last indefinitely. So, if they admit The Lord will return at some future time, they do so because it has been foretold.

Israel has a major role in our world today and will continue to have one until The Lord's return. These are two topics I covered at a recent prophecy conference in Appleton Wisconsin and below are the videos of those presentations.

Internal Challenges Facing Israel

The External Threat To Israel - Ezekiel 38 & 39

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