What is prophecy?

15 October 2019
Series: Bible study
Topic: partner , prophecy

Speaker: Apostle Ernie

What is a prophecy? What is a false prophet? Should a prophecy always come true? Among charismatics and especially Pentecostals, these questions are often asked and rightfully so. But if you were to ask most mainstream Christians, you would end up with about 40 000 + different answers. So what has the Bible got to say about this?

In 1. Cor 14:3 prophecy is described as a gift to be used for edification, encouragement, and comfort. If we want to understand what Paul meant when he wrote those words, we have to remember Paul was a Torah obedient Jew who believed in Yeshua as his Messiah. And there is quite a difference between a mainstream Christian understanding of 1. Cor 14:3 and Pauls understanding of 1.Cor 14:3

How would Paul, as a Torah obedient Jew, understand the terms edification, encouragement, and comfort?

All through the Old, and the New Testament, we find passages that show us how life, healing, and abundance is found in obedience to the Torah. We see in the Gospels how Yeshua taught His disciples to obey the Torah and rebuke human-made traditions and doctrines. So for a Hebrew Jew, living at the time of Paul, the most considerable edification, comfort, and encouragement would come from those who taught others to obey the Torah.

We see this in the life of the prophets in the Old Testament. They were sent to Israel to warn them about what would happen if they continued to live in disobedience to the Torah and to show them how to return to Torah obedience. So what would Paul have said, if you asked him to describe a prophet? He would have said, a prophet is one who teaches the Torah and warns others about the consequences of disobeying it.

Can prophecy sometimes give insight into what will happen in the future?

The Bible clearly shows us how the prophets in the Old Testament were able to see into the future and warn of future events and what would happen if Israel did not repent. So the answer is yes, prophecy can and will quite often reveal future events that could occur if you do not repent.

What is a false prophet?

The Bible says, in the book of Jonah, how Jonah was sent to Nineveh to warn them about the consequences of their Tora disobedience. Because the people of Nineveh listened to the warning they repented, and Yehovah did not destroy the city. So the prophecy Jonah gave never happened. Was Jonah a false prophet because the prophecy did not happen? The answer is no; Jonah was not a false prophet.

The Bible says in Deut 13, a false prophet is someone who speaks of future events that happen but teaches the people to disobey the Torah. It even says in Deut 13 that sometimes Yehovah sends false prophets to test His people to see if they love Him and obey Him.

So the Bible says the criteria for a false prophet is not if the prophecy comes through or not. It is the prophet’s view on the Torah if he or she believes the Torah (the written law of Moses) still applies to us; they are a true prophet of Yehovah. If they think it was done away with at the cross, they are a false prophet and should not be listened to.

Is a prophecy a guarantee?

A prophecy is never a guarantee because each individual has free will.

When you receive a prophecy from a true prophet, it will warn you of the consequences of disobeying the Torah. It will tell you what will happen if you do not repent, and it will tell you what Yehovah promises for you if you do repent. If you are already living in obedience to the Torah, it will guide you and tell you where you can improve, and give you promises of what will happen if you do. But you will still have a free will to choose to disobey and accept the negative consequences.

So when you receive a prophecy, you are responsible for what happens next.

Can you request an answer to a specific question in a prophecy?

You can ask a specific question, but there is no guarantee Yehovah will answer. If He sees something in your life that is more important to address, He will do that first and then perhaps answer your question.