Sunday, 11 January 2009

Prophet, prophesy, prophecy

There has always been great difficulty interpreting the word 'prophet' and derivatives thereof

Usually it is thought of predicting something in the future and this is true in one sense - even in the new testament:

Acts 11:27-28 27 Now in these days prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 And one of them named Agabus stood up and foretold by the Spirit that there would be a great famine over all the world (this took place in the days of Claudius).

But in chapters like 1 Cor 14 - that would be very difficult to make any sense if that were the sole meaning of the Word
also it would be pretty hard to imagine an entire church speaking like Agabus - even the apostles hardly do it on record

1 Corinthians 14:24-25 24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, 25 the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.

why would that happen if you were telling the future?

a prophecy then is a revelation
so in the OT:

Amos 3:7 7 "For the Lord GOD does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.

It is a revelation of the 'mysteries' of God made known to His people

So to reveal something about what is going to happen in a particular context is prophecy - like Agabus
to proclaim a Word from the Lord (as the prophets of old) - is also prophecy
and to expound the meaning of the mysteries of the OT Scripture - is also prophecy
to see the secrets of men's hearts - as in 1 cor 14 above - is also prophecy

and indeed it is a gift of edification and worth asking for
and definitely cannot just be taken wholesale - but carefully weighed with all the other 'revelation of God' - which is one and the same

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