Dialogs and Commentary

The Spirit of Prophecy

Extracted from a letter to Gary Nelsen from Dean VanDruff in anticipation of dialogs--as a sort of primer.

2 Pet 1:21 (NIV) For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Here are my thoughts to spur discussion on our up-coming trip to Israel on the Spirit of prophecy--its manifestation, the false and fleshly deviations, and our reactions to all of these. Not eschatology in particular, but prophets and prophecy in general.

Mat 24:10-11 (NIV) "At that time many will turn away from the faith... and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people."
I define prophecy as: "creatively confronting people with the truth about God and man." Thus, we have oral, writing, and acting prophets. By creative, I do not mean mere human creativity, but divinely inspired. "You are the man" switcheroos; Micaiah's derisive aping of the "peace peace" message; Jeremiah's sardonic "Amen" to Hananiah (Jer 28:6-9); Micah's "wine and beer" prophets; Ezekiel lays on his side; Isaiah "streaks"; Agabus grabs Paul's belt...

Isa 30:9-11 (NIV) These are rebellious people... unwilling to listen to the Lord's instruction. They say to the seers, "See no more visions!" and to the prophets, "Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions. Leave this way, get off this path, and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!"
Areas of interest to me are:

1) "negative" prophecies that can be avoided by repentance (conditional) versus those which cannot, but are meant to build our faith (unconditional)

2) "positive" conditional prophecies (if you... then I will) versus unconditional (Messiah, Israel's redemption?)

Luke 24:25-26 (NIV) He said to them, "How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?"
3) the purpose of prophecy, i.e., warning, faith, God's glory

4) prophecies regarding the past/present/future; (Song of Moses, calls to repentance, end of Daniel)

5) why we honor prophets tombs and canonize them but avoid them like the plague?

6) what prophecy really is (preaching) as opposed to what it has come to be known as

7) the ultimate future personal prophecy: HELL, and how we have driven the prophets who forthtell of this ultimate truth out of the church

8) true prophets, false prophets, and flesh prophets; motivations, styles, appealing to, rationalization of, etc.

9) the office versus the gift, where the onus in the New Covenant has switched from submission to testing

10) how can we personally cultivate a receptive posture to prophecy?

1 Thes 5:20-21 (KJV) Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

I would very much like, if it seems good to the Spirit in you, to glean some of your insights on this, and to test some of the material as well. Specifically, I would request that you ask God to give you insight, study and research as needed, and in general prepare your hearts and minds to discuss this during our travels and time in Israel.

Jer 23:29 (NIV) "Is not my word like fire," declares the Lord, "and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?"

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