Saturday, September 04, 2021

Testing Prophecies

When I first heard these prophecies by Cindy Jacobs and Ben Hughes, my heart was stirred, but my second thought was, "I have heard this before; many times." Then I began to wonder.

How much do these people really know about the spiritual state of New Zealand?
I have heard dozens of words like these over the last forty years
many from overseas speakers,
but none have been fulfilled.

I realise that some prophecies take time to be fulfilled,
but I never heard any prophets saying,
“Hunker down and get prepared because revival is still twenty years away”.
Maybe it is time for some accountability
or at least an explanation of why.

I worry that these words talk about what God is going to do
(telling God what to do is a mug’s game).
I would take them more seriously,
if they had told God’s people what they need to do,
so that he can do what he wants to do here.

Some prophets are saying that their prophecies were not fulfilled because the people have not prayed enough. But my observation is that there has been more intercessors, prayer, intercession, and crying to God in the last thirty years than ever before, so the “Not Enough Prayer” explanation is beginning to wear a bit thin. I note that most of the prophets who have spoken to New Zealand sounded definite about what they were promising. I don’t recall any saying, “God will send revival if people pray enough,” and none said how much prayer would be enough. Prophets don’t have the right to dump the “You did not pray enough” excuse on the people when their prophecies are not fulfilled.

I am not dumping on prophetic ministry, and I am not anti-prophetic. I want the ministry to develop and mature so that God can speak clearly to his people. When I became a follower of Jesus, I was delighted to discover that the prophetic gifting and the ministry of the prophet had been restored to the church. The first book that I bought on the prophetic ministry was published in 1976. I am an early adopter. I wrote a book to help young prophets grow in their ministry. Most of that material is available free at the Ministry of the Prophet.

I have taken a keen interest in the development of the prophetic and have always wanted to know what God is saying about the situation in New Zealand. I have a folder, an inch thick, full of prophecies that have been spoken about New Zealand. The first one is dated from 1952. I also have a folder on the hard drive of my computer with some of the more recent ones, which I received in electronic form. I even typed out a couple that came on MP3 so I could study them more carefully.

I have lived my life in the light of the hope these prophecies provided. I have believed that these words reflected God’s heart and what he wanted to do.

I note looking back at them that a few of the prophecies that I have collected were conditional, but the conditions got lost in the presentation, as the prophet focussed on the promised blessing and played sown the condition aspects of their word.

I understand that some promises of God are for a time way in the future and that we often have to wait patiently for him to act. Daniel had to wait for seventy years for Jeremiah’s prophecy to be fulfilled. The difference is that Jeremiah declared that the nation would not return for seventy years. He prophesied the waiting time precisely. No prophets said to New Zealand that we would have to wait for 30+ years for revival. They always made it sound imminent. One prophecy released in 2020 used the word “imminent” repeatedly. Others have said, “This is the time”.

The scriptures say that we should test prophecy and hold fast to that which is good (1 Thes 5:20). We should do that when a prophecy is first released, but that might not be enough. When a prophecy is given as if it is for the current season, and it has not happened after twenty years, the prophet should be asking why for their own learning. More important, the need to be able to tell the people who trusted their word what is going on, given that their word has not been fulfilled.

I believe that prophets also have a responsibility to ask "Why?” if thirty or more years have gone by without their prophecy being fulfilled so they can learn how to hear God better. Being defensive helps no one. And those who have received prophecies that have not been fulfilled after many years should test them again in the light of how history and the current situation have changed.

The accountability of the prophetic became a big issue last year after the kerfuffle over the prophecies about Donald Trump’s re-election, but the issue is far wider than that. The prophetic movement has been going strong for at least forty years. This is great, but there is a massive number of prophecies lying around that people received in good faith and trusted, but which have not been fulfilled. Maybe it is time to review some of these and clear away the junk, so we can hear clearly what God is saying this season.

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