My experience with a variety of different churches in a few different states has had me running into two words repeatedly: prophesy and prophecy. The definition of the verb prophesy is “saying a specific thing will happen in the future” or “to predict”. Prophecy is a noun that simply means “prediction”, as in it has already been determined. As an observer, I have noticed that prophecy and prophesying can go in a few different directions and some of those directions can mislead hordes of people if we are not careful.
I have had others speak prophesy into my life by telling me “such and such” will happen when God prepares my heart or “such and such” will happen as God takes me deeper into a relationship with Him. Some of the “such and such” reminded me of psychic predictions or some form of mysticism. Those prophesies really had nothing to do with God at all, but they spoke to a fleshly desire of my heart. Those particular prophesies were appealing because it carried the added bonus of being spoken in the name of God, often with scripture attached. I have to admit, I have been guilty of taking the words of prophesy from another voice and running with it as if it had been signed, sealed, and delivered from the Lord. I have even been guilty of speaking something into someone else’s life without having a serious conference with God about it.
While it is nice to hear someone telling you exactly what you want to hear, beware. There is a father of lies who will use prophesy and scripture to get your heart distracted from God. When we become distracted from His will and start to chase after our own will, and with cheerleaders who are encouraging us with prophesy, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment. That disappointment can turn into resentment and that resentment can separate us from God.
I decided to dive into scripture, prayer, Hebrew, and meditation to examine these words and what it means to us as believers. My husband and I especially enjoyed walking through parts of 2 Chronicles 18 together (there are some lessons there to be learned). It also led me through some studying on the Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles) and other significant Jewish holidays and customs surrounding this time of year. My experience with God has been enlightened significantly by learning about Jewish culture and Hebrew.
With all of the world events going on these days, ‘prophecy’ and ‘prophesying’ are both getting bigger, louder, and bolder.
I want Yeshua HaMashiach to come walking along the horizon as much as the next person. It is one reason I watch the clouds; I like to look up a lot just in case. I ask Him everyday to come back! But, the harvest is plentiful and the workers are few (Matthew 9:37). The King of kings and Master of masters is not willing that any should perish, so His heart is longing to gather the lost toward Him.
When I was a child I heard Mark 13:36:
If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping.
I ended up trying to keep myself awake all night long one night, because I was terribly worried I would miss Him if I fell asleep! I eventually fell asleep and, when I awoke, I was despondent. I was inconsolable over the fact that I had slept and He saw me sleeping! My experiences with church as a child were inconsistent and limited to holidays, funerals, weddings, or some of the groups my mother was involved in. I had absolutely no understanding of Mark 13:36, other than the way my childish mind took everything literally.
I have noticed that we can often take scripture way too literally and run with it, just like children do, without pausing to meditate on it. Children have no restraint and I have been learning just how much they lack restraint when dealing with my own little ones. While God wants us to approach Him with the innocent trust of a child, I also feel He wants us to consider 1 Corinthians 13:11 when walking or talking out our faith:
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.
We need to be able to use our reasoning and logic to comprehend the meat of scripture. Sometimes, we need to have a conference with God about it through meditation and prayer. I absolutely believe and trust that God is able to show each one of us what He needs us to know and see when we need to know and see it. What God shows me won’t necessarily be the same as what He shows you, because we are all in a personal relationship with Him and it has its own course and timing.
While I believe we should live in such a way that we are ready for Him, we also need to be careful not to get too wrapped up in Bible prophecy. This is a territory we must approach with fear and trembling, because we are absolutely accountable for everything we speak into the hearts and minds of other people. We have already been instructed that no man knows the day or the hour when Yeshua HaMashiach will come marching across the horizon.
In the meantime, we have been given simple instructions to adhere to as stated in Luke 10:27:
He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”
There are spiritual infants hungry and thirsty, dependent on believers who have been walking and talking for a while to feed them. Because of that, we must be very careful how we handle prophecy, prophesying, visions, dreaming dreams, and speaking certain things into the lives of those around us. I have come across a lot of confusion that many people are experiencing over these times we are in and all of those things I just mentioned. I have even experienced some confusion in several of those areas myself. I do believe God can and does use those vehicles to communicate with people. I also believe, however, those vehicles have a time and a place assigned to them.
Nothing is more frustrating to my two children and myself than when I am trying to reason with them at a level they are unable to comprehend because of their stages in life. We need to be gentle with one another, build one another up in love, and put our hope and trust in the Lord at all times.
He will speak to us and He will show us what we need to see in order to keep fighting the good fight! Keep looking up!