Note also here that this supports what we stated earlier about God speaking in the old days through his prophets and in these end days through His Word. Just as false prophets used to arise we will face false teachers in the end days. Teachers of what? His Word. Many will follow them and the way of the truth, Christianity, will be blasphemed because of it. How many people do you know who were so damaged by false teaching or prophecy that they have not gone back to church at all? The problem is very real when we start to cheapen prophecy.
So what then is actual prophecy? I do not ascribe to the beliefs of cessationism that claim the gifts of the Spirit are no longer in operation today. Paul goes into excruciating detail about the gifts and their usage during a church service so it make no sense that God would go to these lengths for directives that would only count for a handful of decades. Actual prophecy today must be thus sayeth the Lord in His Word. Take for example the earlier case of my friend. If the "prophet" had said that the Lord has said that He will never leave you or forsake you that could be considered prophetic because it is a correct usage of Scripture:
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." -- Hebrews 13: 5 (ESV)
This verse could be prophetically used to encourage my friend to be content with what she has. I stress the correct usage of Scripture because incorrectly referencing Scripture is just as false as claiming false direct revelation. To say to my friend that God has plans for her future based upon Jeremiah 29:11 and declare therefore she will get the promotion is to incorrectly handle the Word. If you read Jeremiah 29 you will see that this verse is from a letter written to the exiles in Babylon. To extrapolate out this one verse and apply it to everyone is not correct. Now, does God have a plan for our lives based on the totality of Scripture? Sure, because He sees all time, He knows our future. That future however may be to suffer for His name. It may be to even be martyred for the cause of Christ. The true plans of hope and a future are the promises of an eternal life with God in heaven, not a temporal employment promotion. Note also that when we use the Hebrews verse correctly to prophetically encourage her we keep the focus on Jesus. When we misuse Jeremiah we take the focus off of Christ and put it onto ourselves. This is the end result of allowing our wickedly deceitful heart to lie to us about what God is and is not saying. It is a result we need not get to when He has already graciously supplied us with His Word. Is there something we will face in this life that cannot be addressed through His Word? Of course not. This is why we must stop chasing men for a word from the Lord when He has already spoken to us. There is no gift as solemn as the gift of prophecy. To claim that God has spoken is not something that should ever be taken lightly. Let me close with the words of the Apostle Paul about not forgetting the magnitude of claiming to represent God Almighty:
But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God's word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ. -- 2Corinthians 2: 14-17 (ESV)
When we claim to speak on behalf of God, either prophetically or through teaching, we are the aroma of Christ Himself. The true aroma of Christ brings life and is always accurate and reflective back to the revealed will of God found in Scripture. The false aroma is a stench of death unto death. Taking one's eyes off of Christ and onto our personal and temporal situations. Those who would speak presumptuously are peddlers of God's Word. They are insincere. They are not truly commissioned by God, no matter how well intended they may be. They forget that they speak their lies in the full sight of God and they will answer for every careless word they proclaimed from Him that He never spoke. Stop chasing the wind beloved. Prophecy is a valuable gift of the Spirit that directly conveys thus sayeth the Lord unto His people. Not some psychic trick to falsely encourage people with the wicked deceitfulness of our own hearts.
Reverend Anthony Wade -- May 13, 2017