“Coupled with his/her knowledge of the scripture, the prophet should see beyond the text and the surface of current affairs, and into the very heart of God.”
And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.
— Joel 2:28 and Acts 2:17, NIV
In the last days, many will prophesy. Some are actual prophets predestined by God to rise in the last days. But alongside them, there will also be many false prophets arising to deceive many people (Matthew 24:11, NIV). In an environment like this, how would a person who has been called to be a prophet learn to prophesy?
Here is a three-step checklist that might help you do just that.
Step 1: Know God’s Words
The prophet must be familiar with God’s words, both the Old and the New Testament… Because God doesn’t change, so won’t His heart nor His mind. What God’s instituted will remain from eternity to eternity. In the scriptures, we will see a pattern of blessing and curses. Obey God’s law, blessings will come to you and your family. Go against God and worship idols, curses will befall you. And this applies wherever you are; even if you’re in exile. So, if you know the Word of God inside out, that will put you at an advantage if God has called you to be a prophet.
Step 2: Know Current Affairs
The prophet must be well-versed in the world’s affairs, especially in the field in which God has called him/her into. In the complex world that we live in, it’s almost impossible to be well-versed in everything. Just consider the number of subjects you find in the university and how many subject matter experts there are out there!
Now, if you’re called to be a prophet, you need to be well-versed in your field. If you’re called to be a prophet overlooking the Middle-eastern conflict, make sure you are aware of all that is going on in the Middle East. If you’re called to be a prophet in political sciences, make sure you are aware of all the system of governments in the world and the role that each of them plays. If you’re called to be a prophet in end-time cosmic predictions, make sure you’re well-versed in cosmology and astrophysics so that you may understand how the Sun might darken and the moon turn to red.
If you are not well-versed with the current affairs in your respective fields, how would you be able to give an accurate prophecy? Even if the Holy Spirit gives you a certain vision, without proper knowledge of the situation, one might not be able to use appropriate terms to express a certain phenomenon. If people do not understand, what then is the point of this prophecy?
Step 3: Pray, pray, and pray!
All prophecies come as a revelation from God. And hence, the prophet must have a close relationship with God so as to discern God’s heart for the world. Coupled with his/her knowledge of the scripture, the prophet should see beyond the text and the surface of current affairs, and into the very heart of God.
The knowledge of God’s heart will help the prophet put current affairs into perspective. With a close relationship with God, a prophet will be able to look at current affairs prophetically, discerning God’s purpose behind every little matter, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Say, for example, the rise of pride parades and the normalization of LGBT relations might very well lead to the next Sodom and Gomorrah. We see it, not once, but twice (ref: Genesis 19 – the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, and Judges 19 – The story of Gibeah).
What does this tell us? Will America be the next Sodom? Will Taiwan be the next Gomorrah? Not quite! Sin needs to reach its full measure (ref: Genesis 15:16) before judgment will happen. What does that mean? That meant God is merciful enough to the inhabitants of these places, giving them time to repent! Will history change its course? Yes! We see that in Jonah 3:10 when God relented and did not bring judgment when He saw how people repented and turned from their ways.
A prophet needs to be very close to God. At the same time, the prophet needs to be well-versed in current affairs. And for God to speak with the prophet, the prophet will need to pray unceasingly, getting affirmation after affirmation that this is exactly God’s will.
So, what does the prophet do?
I think it is pretty clear by now what modern-day prophets are called to do. Prophets are called to:
- Make known the heart of God.
- Bring the concerns of the people to the Lord and to intervene for them (ref: 1 Samuel 12:23, NIV)
- Make known warnings from God.
- Pray for minimum damage in an upcoming judgment (ref: Genesis 18:16-33, NIV)
- And stand by the people during the time of trials, praying for repentance, and guiding repentant souls to God (ref: 1 Samuel 15:35)
Doesn’t this sound like the task of every Christian? Because all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Christ, we are called to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. We are to teach them to obey all that Christ has commanded us. That includes teachings about prophecies, sin, judgment, and the end-times.
Is God calling you to be a prophet?
May God help us.