Many of us wonder if prophecy is more trouble than it’s worth. First we have to judge it; there are true and false prophets. Then it’s subject to so many conditions that we don’t know if it will come to pass or not.
It can look maddeningly convenient for the prophets: if they prophesy something that looks great and powerful, they look great and powerful too; if they prophesy something that doesn’t happen, they can blame it on someone else’s lack of responding to God.
Do prophecies ever come to pass? Sometimes it almost seems that the emperor has no clothes, and the church is in a conspiracy of silence, refusing to acknowledge our nakedness.
Before we allow ourselves such a cynical view, I want to ask you a question: how many of the promises of scripture are coming to pass in your life?
II Peter 1:16-21 says the prophetic word of scripture is more sure than the prophetic experiences any of us may have; this includes his own experience on the Mount Of Transfiguration. That being so, how much of it is coming to pass in your life?
Matthew brings out something wonderful about Jesus: again and again in His life, things happened “that it might be fulfilled which was written.” What is happening in your life that fulfills what is written?
I can’t list all of God’s promises here; there are too many. But as I travel from church to church and minister prophetically, I meet some people who are used to seeing God’s word come to pass in their lives: promises of healing, provision, grace to resist temptation, answered prayer, the manifest presence of God when they worship. Others find the biblical promises of God elusive.
Usually, I find that the same people who see the written word of God come to pass also know how to obtain the promises given by the prophets of today. They recognize that the promises in scripture are conditional; they have cultivated the discipline of positioning themselves to receive what God has promised.
Likewise, the people who complain the most about the prophecies of today that are not coming to pass have few if any testimonies of biblical promises that have come to pass in their lives. If they do have a testimony, it’s usually a single event many years ago.
All of us know that the Father wants to conform us to the image of His Son. One aspect of Jesus’ character is that He came so prophecy could be fulfilled. If you and I become more like Him, more and more prophecies will be fulfilled in our lives.
So I want to challenge you: before you allow yourself to become cynical about the modern prophets, make sure you develop a track record of seeing Bible prophecies and promises fulfilled in your life.
In most cases, you will find that the language of today’s prophets sounds like the language of the Bible. And if you have cultivated the art of receiving what God has promised in scripture, you will be the kind of person who is likely to obtain what modern prophets are proclaiming.
The Bible commands us to despise not prophesying; it commands us to prove all things and hold fast what is good. God is good, and His words towards us are good. Prove His words – the words of scripture, and the words of today’s prophets – by meeting the conditions necessary for them to come to pass in your life.
But if the words of scripture aren’t coming to pass in your life, you have no right to throw stones at today’s prophets if they give words that don’t come to pass.