Prophecy and Prophet:
They can be different.
All those who prophesy are not necessarily prophets - meaning in the office of a prophet.
However all prophets in the office of a prophet do prophesy. It is part of that calling.
And what does it mean when a prophecy from the Lord is delayed?
Let’s see what God has to say in His Word. This is all that matters.
"But Lord, why hasn't it happened yet?"
Amos 7:1-6 (AMP) - 1."Thus the Lord God showed me [Amos], and behold, He formed locusts in the beginning of the shooting up of the second crop, and behold, it was the second crop after the king's mowings. 2. And when [the locusts] had finished eating the plants of the land, then I sad, "Lord God, forgive, I pray You. How can Jacob stand? for he is so small!" 3. The Lord relented and revoked this sentence; It shall not take place, said the Lord [and He was eased and comforted concerning it]. 4. This the Lord God showed me, and behold, the Lord called for punishment with fire, and it devoured the great deep and would have eaten up the land. 5. Then said I, "O Lord God, cease, I pray You! How can Jacob stand? He is so little!" 6. The Lord relented and revoked this sentence: "This also shall not be", said the Lord [and He was eased and comforted concerning it]."
We can see when the Lord decreed a thing that He held off from the event occurring because of prayer. Prayer changes things.
This occurs time and again throughout the Bible.
God's Mercy. As it says in James 2:13 (AMP)- "because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment."
It only takes one person to pray for God's mercy to intervene in a situation. Sometimes the event can be stopped; sometimes it can be slowed down; sometimes the judgment or wrath can be made less severe. All of this can only be achieved through peoples prayers regarding prophecy. Looking at 1 Timothy 1:18 we can see this was speaking of what Timothy was supposed to do regarding the prophecies spoken regarding himself and we can surmise that this can be done on are larger scale for a nation and the world - we are to wage a good warfare in prayer regarding the prophecies spoken: "This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage a good warfare."
"Warfare" in the Bible is in prayer, as we see in Ephesians 6:10-18 we are to pray, waging warfare in the armor of God, which is His word.
We can see this throughout the Old Testament. One is with Abraham for Sodom and Gomorrah because Lot lived there; King David repeatedly prayed to God for mercy in many situations like 2 Samuel 12 and 24. In Joel 2:13 - "And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repents from sending calamity."
There can be a difference between Prophecy and Prophet:
2 Thessalonians 1:11 - “With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of His calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness, and the work of faith with power;”
And Romans 11:29 - “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”
In the Amplified Translation it reads: “For God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable. [He never withdraws them once they are given and He does not change His mind about those to whom He gives His grace or to whom He gives His call.]”
This is true for all of God’s callings on every person. The calling of a prophet is no different.
2 Peter 1:20-21 -
20-“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21. For the prophecy came not in the old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
So a prophet is one who receives God’s message and tells it to others as He directs, according to Acts 3:18 - “But those things, which God before had shown by the mouth of all His prophets, that Christ should suffer, He has fulfilled.”
Prophecy is still very much alive today because we are in the End Times and is part of God’s Kingdom work, John 16:13 - “Howbeit when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come.”
Amos 3:7 - “Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing His secret unto His servants the prophets.”
Prophecy is the word of God. Prophets are the servants of God, called and appointed by God to give His message. We see specifically in Jeremiah the “Office of the prophet” which is the calling of a prophet: Jeremiah 1:3, 9-10 (3-10) - “Before I formed you in the belly I knew you; and before you came forth out of the womb I sanctified you, and I ordained you a prophet unto the nations.”
The prophets of the Old Testament are such prophets. It was their calling. They were called to that office before they were born: Moses, Joshua, Samuel, Isaiah, of course Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Joel, and so-on. They were prophets to the nations. Kings. Kingdoms. Take a look at: Hosea 12:10, 13; Isaiah 30:8-17; 2 Kings 17:13, to name a few.
Yes, there were times when some prophets spoke to kings spoke falsely. When you read those scriptures, (like 1 Kings 22…and there are more) it is evident they were playing to the favoritism of the king, not to God.
Saying what the Lord gives you does not make one “popular.” It has proven throughout history to make the prophet the bane of kings and nations. They were not liked…let’s face it, not often is it good news that the Lord wants told to a nation.
2 Chronicles 36:15-16 - “The Lord, the God of their ancestors, sent word to them through His messengers again and again, because He has pity on His people and on His dwelling place. But they mocked God’s messengers, despised His words and scoffed at His prophets until the wrath of the Lord was aroused against His people and there was no remedy.”
Again these particular types of prophets are for the nations; kings; kingdoms; peoples; the world. You can tell these types of prophets by the words given to them by the Lord, about nations and peoples. Frequently the nations, the people, scoff and mock prophets and prophecy.
There is a second type of prophet - those who speak by utterance of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 6:18-19 and 1 Corinthians 1:5) to the Church - Body of Christ or to a portion of the church body of believers, and unbelievers. This is seen in 1 Corinthians 14. First Corinthians is written to believers gathering in a church setting and how to operate in giftings of the Holy Spirit to help others. There is to be order in a church gathering. Because the public can walk in, prophecy is one of the giftings of the Holy Spirit to be desired because it will help others since they understand the utterance and it is given in their known language. Simply because one prophesies in church does not mean they are in the office of a prophet. And this is greatly misunderstood today. They are operating in the gifting as the Holy Spirit gives them: utterance (Ephesians 6:19 ; 1 Corinthians 1:5; 12:7-8) and always has the word of knowledge and word of wisdom. Giftings change depending on what the Holy Spirit wants to do. It means being pliable as a believer to allow the Holy Spirit free rein to operate as He sees fit. It may be in healings, miracles, works of faith, prophecy, etc.
This type of prophetic utterance can be seen in 1 Samuel 19:18-24. This is where king Saul decided to kill David. He and a bunch of his messengers went to find David who was hiding with the prophet Samuel at Ramah. In verse 20-21, 23-24: “And Saul sent messengers to take David; and when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as appointed head over them, the Spirit of God came upon the messengers of Saul and they prophesied. When it was told Saul, he sent other messengers, and they prophesied. And Saul sent messengers again the third time, and they also prophesied…so the Spirit of God came upon him also, and as he went on he prophesied …he took off his robes and prophesied before Samuel and lay down stripped thus all that day and night. So they say, ‘Is Saul also among the prophets?’”
The answer: no. Neither were his messengers. But the Spirit of God gave them utterance as He willed.
Another element to prophecy: There are two types of major prophecy:
1. Conditional Prophecy;
2. Unconditional Prophecy.
Conditional Prophecy: is when the prophecy fulfillment is dependent on the compliance of those to whom the promise is made, with the conditions on which it is given. A prophecy in which the prediction is affirmed upon the condition. Prayer can change to condition of the prophecy.
Unconditional Prophecy: is one in which there is no condition predicated. A prophecy from God that will come to pass exactly as prophesied no matter what humans do: like - birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus. These were unconditional. Nothing could change those events.
Many of the prophecies given to nations are #1-Conditional. This means that what the Lord spoke through His servant(s) the prophet(s) can have three different outcomes:
1. It can be stopped.
2. It can be delayed.
3. It cannot be stopped or delayed but the word given is to prepare people for what is coming.
Much of what has been given to nations is Conditional and when people pray about these words they can halt, postpone, or prepare people. This is why it is needful to pray over any word given.
Many do not think about is the Mercy of God we see in James 2:13 - “For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment." Nor do they think of the desire of the Lord to stop the coming judgement and that He seeks for someone to stand in the gap as in Ezekiel 22:30 - "And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none."
Even with words that are given by the Lord that are harsh, there is the Mercy of God. Because of the prayers of His people, He has often held off from judgment coming when He initially spoke it. 2 Peter 3:9 (Amplified) - “The Lord does not delay and is not tardy or slow about what He promises, according to some people’s conception of slowness, but He is long-suffering (extraordinarily patient) toward you, not desiring that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
The Lord is merciful and wants people to repent before judgment falls and will hold off judgment if people ask in order to wait for people to come to Him.
This has happened many, many times on the Word that the Lord has given. Other times was how we (humans) perceived it. We didn’t “get” what the Lord was doing. This is much like when Jesus was here on earth. So many didn’t get who He is. There were only three who understood: Simeon and Anna in Luke 2:25-38; and John the Baptist John 1:19-34. All three understood because they followed the Spirit AND the Word (John 4:23-24). There was one other but it took time for him to understand who Jesus was, and that was Peter. In fact his name is what was given to him by Jesus, when God the Father revealed who Jesus was to Simon Bar-Jonah. Jesus named him “Peter.” Jesus said: I will call you Peter (in Greek "peter" or "petros" means rock) and on this rock I will build My church. What “rock” is that? Revelation knowledge. Peter got the revelation from God; and Revelation is how the church is built. Unfortunately revelation knowledge isn’t seen much anymore and that is a sign that they won’t allow God in their church. God IS Revelation Knowledge. So is Jesus. No revelation - No Jesus - No revelation - No God.
How do you know when there is Revelation? You learn something you could have never imagined on your own! Like a light bulb going on and your mind expanding...and you get excited about it. That's Revelation!
This can also be seen in: Luke 13:6-9; Jonah 3 (all) but especially verse 10, and there are other places in the Old Testament where the Lord held off from executing His judgment after it was decreed but it did eventually come: Matthew 13:24-30; Exodus 8:15, 19, 32; Exodus 9:7, 12, 34-35; (also Exodus 10, 11, 14).
More places in Genesis where the Lord held off on judgment decreed on a kingdom for a period of time, because someone asked Him to...they "stood in the gap," as it says in: Ezekiel 22:30-31 (NIV)- "I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before Me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one. 31. So I will pour out My wrath on them and consume them with My fiery anger, bringing down on their own heads all they have done, declares the Sovereign Lord."
Like in Genesis 18 where the Lord held off on judgment decreed on a kingdom because someone asked Him - Abraham asked God to change His judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah. God was willing. Another with Ahab in 1 Kings 21. Elijah tells Ahab that he will be killed and dogs will lick up his blood, this is because of what he and his wife Jezebel had done. BUT Ahab repented and fasted. The Lord stayed His verdict for a period of time but it did eventually come to his son. The Lord changed when the judgment would happen because of repentance.
Another important aspect to when someone is given word from the Lord is in Revelation 22:18-19 - “For to everyone who hears the words of this prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book.19. And if any man shall take away form the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” This is not only for the book of Revelation; it is for the entire Bible. The words of God should not be changed, otherwise the judgment of God comes upon the person who changes it. Just because the person giving the Word or the person hearing the Word doesn’t like the “when” of the Word doesn’t make a difference. It’s God’s Word. He will do what He pleases.
The way to properly “judge” a Word for yourself is according to Colossians 3:15- do you have “peace” or “no peace” in your heart. Not your head. Your heart. Your inner man. Also known as the “gut feeling.” When that’s peaceful even if the Word is harsh... all good!
Last bit... it is with great weight that these words are shared:
James 4:12 - “There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and destroy. Who are you to judge another?”
And Matt. 7:1 - “Do not judge so that you will not be judged.”
We are to take what we hear prophetically spoken to the Lord. Ask Him for confirmation through His Word. And we judge for ourselves by Colossians 3:15 (Amplified) - “Let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always.].”
~ Rina van de Kamp