I listened to a radio program some time ago and the topic of the discussion was the relevance of prophecies in our time considering the number of prophets who release their prophetic declarations for the year at the beginning of every year.

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I was concerned that a majority of what was said by the presenters was to put down prophecies as being an unnecessary thing to give any consideration. It was obvious those radio presenters did not really understand what they were talking about. It may be that many people do not appreciate the necessity of prophecy for our lives today, this is why I invite you to join me as we examine why we need prophecy today.

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"Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets” Amos 3:7.

What is prophecy? The dictionary defines prophecy as a prediction, especially one made by a prophet or under divine inspiration. To prophesy is to speak, or write with divine inspiration; to act as a prophet. Prophecy is the foretelling of the things that will come into manifestation in the future. It is God reaching out to reveal to men the things that shall happen in their lives, their family, their community and their nation in the future. Prophecies are no mere words nor the fancies of the people who declare it, It is a special message sent by God to guide people and help them keep away from danger. In 1st Corinthians 12:10, we have the mention of prophecy as one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit for the benefit of the church. Thus, God has made a way by which He directly communicates to man His divine agenda for a season before it comes into manifestation. We see in our text today, Amos 3:7, that God reveals to His servants, the prophets, the secret things; things the ordinary man cannot know.

Prophecy is one peculiar gift of the Holy Spirit that predated the outpouring on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-6). We read about the prophecies of Prophets Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Micah, Zechariah, Amos and others in their respective books of the Bible. We see in these books how men of old were guided by the ministry of prophets. By the ministry of these prophets, the nation of Israel was greatly blessed and preserved. Hosea 12:13 tells us the LORD used a prophet to bring Israel up from Egypt and by the same ministry of prophecy, He cared for them. King Jehoshaphat was in a dire situation when he was confronted by the armies of three strong nations. He did not know what to do, but when he turned to God in prayers, God sent him a message by the prophecy of Jahaziel, assuring him of victory and the means he had to employ to win (2 Chronicles 20:1-18). I could recount so many of occasion when God sent a message of comfort, counsel and correction by prophecy of his prophets to His people. God is still interested in guiding us today as He did for these men of old. It is for this reason God has brought us the gift of prophecy by the Holy Spirit upon men and women and we must appreciate this gift if we shall benefit from it.

Who can Prophesy? Because Prophecy is a gift of the Holy Spirit, any Christian who is filled with the Holy Spirit, and so gifted by God, can prophesy. While the Spirit of God can move just anyone to prophesy per time, there are those who are called into the office of prophets and are therefore quite inspired to prophesy on a regular basis. Ephesians 4:11 confirms the office of the prophet. We are admonished in 1 Corinthians 14:1-5, to appreciate this gift of God to the church and seek to be used of God for this great purpose. Let us seek for the gift of prophecy, that God may reveal to us the secret things and send us messages for someone, a family, our community and our nation.

How can we know a true prophecy from a false one and a true prophet from a false one? This is a very crucial question because just like any other good order God has established, Satan always seeks to counterfeit it. There are counterfeit prophecies; declarations that God has not sent those who proclaimed them. There are those today, who claim to prophesy when God has not revealed the matter to them. A particular case stands out for our consideration in 1 Kings 22:2-38. We see in this scripture the story of King Ahab and King Jehoshaphat embarking on war against the Syrians. Ahab had not realized the need for prophecy and was set to go into battle without consulting God. However, King Jehoshaphat remembered when he was faced by the three great armies and how God had delivered him by the prophecy of Jahaziel, and so he urges king Ahab to call for a prophet before embarking on the battle. King Ahab assembles a team of prophets, who incidentally are the false ones and wanting to please the king, they prophesied his victory in the battle. King Jehoshaphat could sense the falsehood of these prophets and he then asked if there was any other prophet apart from the team gathered, and prophet Micaiah was brought.

This was a true prophet of God who had in the past rebuked Ahab for his wicked ways, so Ahab hated him and never wanted to hear him again. He tells the king about the evil that shall befall him in the battle. He is not applauded for this prophecy, rather he is put in prison by angry King Ahab. In the end, Ahab was gravely wounded in the battle and died of the wounds the same day. A true prophet may be labelled a “dooms day” prophet just like prophet Micaiah was, but what is most important is that their prophecy shall come to pass.

Having known that there are true and false prophets, we must be able to differentiate between them. Apostle John admonished the believers in 1 John 4:1-6, that they should not believe every spirit but try every Spirit to know if they are of God. This scripture sets a standard for us to assess the prophecies we hear. We need to know if the name of the Lord and His written word is confirmed in the prophecy. If there is a prophecy that proclaims peace to the wicked, then we know it is false because God’s written word says there is no peace for the wicked (Isaiah 48:22, Isaiah 57:21). There are false prophets who prophesy to women in need that the only way out of their problems is to bathed by them at the sea side and end up luring these women to commit fornication or adultery. We must test the Spirit by which the prophet prophesies and one key is that whatever is said cannot be contrary to the written word of God in the Bible. It is pertinent we examine the prophecies we hear and the prophets who declare them, for we know that there are many false prophets in our world today, and this was even the case when Apostle John was writing the letter in 1 John 4:1-6 over a thousand years ago!

The second way of ascertaining a genuine prophecy is if what was foretold comes to manifestation. Jeremiah 28:9 reads, “The prophet which prophesieth of peace, when the word of the prophet shall come to pass, then shall the prophet be known, that the LORD hath truly sent him”. Again, Deuteronomy 18:22 reads; “When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet had spoken it presumptuously; thou shalt not be afraid of him”. The test of time reveals true and false prophecies and prophets. The key to appreciating genuine prophecies is in the discernment of spirits and watching to see if the prophecies get fulfilled. We have become quite used to having many ministers release their prophecies for the year and many are worried about which is true. Let us not worry, if anyone is truly speaking by inspiration of God, then the matter is bound to manifest. Moreover, if we have been following these prophecies to see their fulfillment within the year, by now we should know which prophets have been speaking as oracles of God. To those who presume on the Lord’s name to say what He has not sent them, let them beware of God’s judgment on such falsehood, Deut. 18:20. The severe warning of God’s judgment on false prophets in Jeremiah 23:21-32 should keep us from making a false claim and saying what He has not said.

I want you to also know that there are many true prophets of God in our nation and in our churches and God is daily using them to guide and care for His people. I know of a particular congregation who had received a prophetic map of events for the year 2017 in December 2016 by the ministry of a prophet in their midst. These brethren were not surprised as events were unfolding in the course of the year because they had been foretold. When you receive the prophecy for your marriage, your business, and concerning any area of your life this year, you will have a stability no one who hasn’t can have, knowing fully well God’s direction and agenda for your life. Friends, we need God’s word of prophecy for our lives in such times as we live in. Let us prayerfully seek God to speak to us and to reveal those things we need to know about our lives, families, communities and our nation. Satan’s agenda shall be thwarted and God’s purpose shall be established.

On a final note, how do we deal with prophecies that foretell negative events? What we should do in this circumstance is to ask for God’s mercy to avert the negative event or disaster. We need also to ask for grace to come through such situations victoriously if it is God’s will for them not to be averted. There is the case where King Hezekiah is told by Prophet Isaiah by prophecy to prepare his house for he was going to die, but Hezekiah prayed earnestly asking for God’s mercy to spare his life and God grants him the request, allowing him to live another fifteen years (2 Kings 20:1-6). There is also the case where Apostle Paul is set to go to Jerusalem and Prophet Agabus meets him at Caeserea and prophesies the trials he will go through at Jerusalem – Acts 21:10-14. The brethren at Ceaserea expect Paul to cancel the journey but he insists on embarking on it. This case borders on having proper understanding of God’s will and prophecy. Apostle Paul understood by this prophecy that he must go through trials at Jerusalem, but also knows so well that it was God’s will for him to travel to Jerusalem nevertheless. These two cases teach us how to pray when we receive a prophecy foretelling a negative event; we can ask for its cancellation, and also for grace to victorious in it if we must go through it.

Now we know more about this great gift God has given us today by the Holy Spirit, let us not neglect this gift and go through life not knowing the things that shall happen to us in the future. Our churches must be the solution arenas for people who are confused and needing direction. The supernatural power of God must manifest by the ministry of prophecy and other gifts of the Holy Spirit bringing God’s counsel to pass in our society today. Do you realize your need for God’s guidance? If you will enjoy the benefits of prophecy in your life, then you have to surrender yourself to God and be born again (John 3:3). You have to repent of your sinful lifestyle that displeases God and will not allow Him to help you. You have to turn away from your sins and wholeheartedly commit your heart to God to live the rest of your life following His way in holiness and righteous living. Believe and accept the sacrifice of Jesus Christ to atone for your sins and confess the Lord Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. When you are the beloved of God, I can assure you He will not let you live in the dark but will openly reveal secrets of the future to you. He will guide, comfort, and empower you by His prophecies. Moreso, as you commit yourself to Him, He shall fill you with the power of the Holy Spirit, enabling you to prophecy and bring solution to people in need all around you.

It is my prayer that God will use you and use me to prophecy to our generation. The true prophets of God must rise up again and proclaim the counsels of God for our churches, communities, the nation and the world. Let us appreciate the gift of prophecy and let God use it to comfort, strengthen, direct, correct, and above all else prepare us for eternity in heaven when our journey through this world is over. May God bless His word to our hearts in Jesus Christ name. Amen.

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